Walking in the park, I saw an old man sitting at a park bench. He watched the birds on the other side of the pond. His stare was heavy, as if connected with such a powerful emotion to what he saw. The memory struck with such force that it left him sitting here, comforted by no one, breathless, without life.
I would walk through the park each day and see him staring at new people feeding the birds. After about a week, I managed to sit down, but I’m terrible at starting conversations, especially with strangers.My point is, I sat by this man, with a million questions I could ask, and asked not one. I lost that opportunity. I was an ass-cheek away and couldn’t manage to make a friend. No matter how curious, I failed to ask the questions that would solve this riddle.
I thought it out instead. What could cause an old man such pain? What could he see in these people? He could’ve come here with his wife, maybe fed the birds together for years, before he lost her. He could be all alone. His only release of pent-up emotion could be sitting here and letting the memory drift from his mind. Maybe he came here with his father or his son. Maybe this was the point in space and time where he had such a perfect moment he just couldn’t bear to leave. We all have that point in time that we go to when we feel the world crushing down. It’s a happy little place in our minds that allows us to escape. He went there. I don’t think he’ll ever go back.
Why would you want to return when you have nothing to return to? By the time I summoned the courage to spark a conversation, the man was gone. He never came back. I was left with nothing, except the mystery. I sat and watched from afar, the beautiful birds that came back every day, all covered in a glimmering glaze, bright blues and reds. The people changed, but never the birds. Always beautiful. Always here.
I stretched my arm out over the back of the park bench, sliding my hand down, not paying attention until my fingers felt something etched into the space between the back and front of the wood. I looked over and saw ‘Lily Bird’ etched into the wood. Something about connectivity. I could draw my own conclusions, but there was just something beautiful about this point in time and space.