quote of the moment

quote of the moment:

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

~ Desmond Tutu

Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/annemorrow153204.html#EjJAO6QpHAxPa7jg.99

Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/annemorrow153204.html#EjJAO6QpHAxPa7jg.99

Friday, July 18, 2014

people watching

There's a playground in the center of town. Though in truth it is more of a small park with a huge oak tree smack in the middle and a wooden bench built all around its thick stem. Birdsong punctuates the silence.

A perfect spot for reading and thinking and dreaming; a perfectly restful idyll.

It would be if it weren't for the presence of all the mothers and fathers with their children, frolicking on the merry-go-round and on the swing; happily climbing a structure made of metal and ropes then sliding down the attached slide; balancing on ropes set at two different heights.

This day, a Friday, there's a bunch of teenagers holding some sort of intervention on the grass. Two boys are sitting in the merry-go-round screeching at the top of their lungs. One boy is climbing a tree under his father's critical eye and accompanied by numerous dire warnings.

The sound of a drill in a newly constructed building nearby wafts over on the wind.

The grass is green, the children rowdy, the air balmy and the noise deafening.

My eyes wander past the stonewall enclosing the park to the surrounding apartment houses.
To the west there are mostly modern, newly constructed buildings with their wide banks of windows sparkling in the sun. The eastern side of the park is surrounded by old town houses built hundreds of years ago.

I am waiting for my friend and her son to join me.

I brought a notebook along with me in the hope of finding a spark of inspiration, a moment of clarity here under the oak tree. But I find that the noise, the children's exuberance and the teenager's shrill voices keep breaking through my concentration. I lay the notebook aside and settle more comfortably into the bench.

As my gaze glides past the old, elegant apartment buildings my attention is piqued by two floor-length windows in one building. Both lead to small balconies and both balconies feature a small round table. The balcony on the right sports two chairs around the table, while the one on the left only has one accompanying chair. An orange parasol is affixed to the railing right behind the chair. There is a bright red tablecloth on the table.

An old man is sitting in the shade wearing massive headphones. I let my eyes follow the headphones' cord to the interior of the apartment where I can make out a foreign-looking lady who is busy vacuuming.

Suddenly I find myself indulging my imagination and weaving a story around the lone figure under the parasol.

Mr. X is a widower. He is in bad health and the stairs to his apartment have become an ordeal. Even on a balmy and sunny spring day such as today he finds himself quite incapable of facing the perilous descent or the inevitable climb back up. And yet just like any other Friday his cleaning lady has come to put his home to rights. Mr. X hates Fridays.  Sure Mrs. Y has a funny accent but other than that she is friendly, she always has a smile and a kind word for him and she is very conscientious about her job. There really is nothing to complain about. And yet Mr. X always feels a bit angry and put-upon on Fridays. He feels very much in the way in his own home. Whenever the weather allows he chooses to sit outside on the balcony, so that he may not get into Mrs. Y's way and where he won't have to put up with the racket of the vacuum cleaner. And yet out on the balcony it is always unbearably noisy too. Surely the world used to be a much quieter place? It seems to him that children were not quite so loud back when he was younger. Thank heavens then for modern technology and the fact that the cord of his headphones reaches all the way out to the balcony. He can sit and listen to uplifting classical music and pretend that he is out here under the shade of the bright orange parasol of his own volition. Finally Mrs. Y is done vacuuming. Mr. X rises painstakingly from his chair. He tidies up behind himself, plucking at the tablecloth and then shuffles back inside, to where sanity and familiar comfort await him.

"Baninaaaaaa!" I jerk my head around to see my friend and her son approaching. I wave back and smile, then I turn my head back around. The old man is gone. The glass door glints back at me.
There is nothing beyond those curtains to see.

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