I wrote this very short story last year. I suppose this is the right time to post it.
Have a nice Monday night, to all who are reading this (and all who are not).
The shape of a man, an older man, sat.
The man was rounded in spots that were once sharp and pointed. He sat on a faded park bench, under an oak tree in the park.
So many trees surround the old one, sitting sadly and solemnly, his figure is disappearing beneath the leafy hut of branches. His wrinkled ears perk to the sound of the wind through the branches and the drying, falling leaves.
Falling. Disappearing. “Strange words,” the man uttered, out loud, almost too loudly. The statement echoed through the leaves.
The sun is setting.
Sunlight fell down on him as though it were rain. Heavy drops of rain after a long, steady draught. The drops of sunlight opened and shut in his eyes. And all the while he looked onward, into the fading day.
A grumble. A grunt. Aggravated silence.
Sunrises, sunsets, sunshine. The sun once stood with outstretched hands, the whole world was never-ending sunlight. Now the sun falls down, relentlessly, down, down, down, with heavy hands.
“Isn’t it strange,” he thought to himself, “That all my life is a life behind podiums, standing up tall and making decisions.” He sighed and looked the other way. Frowning? No, not quite. But his lips pressed together while shadowy thoughts churned through the ratification processes and withdrawing pulse of his brain.
He paused. He sighed. Sunlight winked at him in the puddle by his left foot.
“So many people counted on me,” he grunted out, this time out loud, this time his thoughts grew into words for his audience. His audience of leaves, shaking with the chill of the Fall, hoping to land where snow will blanket them and tuck them in at night.
Hope spills through fallen leaves just as it spills through the night sky as bright stars, or the soft prayers of little children, before they go to sleep.
“So many people counted on me,” he said these words in a broken voice this time. Pieces of words strung together in a hopeless sentence. A sentence quivering and shaking before an audience of fallen leaves and unbreakable wind with glares from the setting sun.
“And now, where are they? Where do they sit while I sit? Where do they stand?”
His face folded and creased, mimicking a leaf – mimicking the leaf, sitting delicately on his shoulder.
A little girl walks with her mother on the lane, holding her hand. Her hair is in pigtails, her dress is blue. She skips sometimes, because she is happy and because her mother is near and most of all because it is still sunny out.
She is holding her mother’s hand while she skips, and sometimes she twirls in her dress and sometimes she asks for an ice cream cone. “Vanilla with sprinkles? Just this once?”
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
The girl’s other hand clutches a green balloon. Bright Kelly green like the grass on a baseball field, or the green flecks in her mother’s eyes that stand out on Sunday, at church, during “Amazing Grace”.
Sometimes hope sings. Sometimes hope dances.
“Strange words,” the girls hear. The woman and her baby. The woman and the girl.
“Look, Mommy,” the little one says with a squeak.
Her mother turns to see him, sitting up straight on the weathered park bench. Mahogony wood scratched with unshapely hearts and broken, etched words.
A gasp. A pause.
“Mr. President,” she whispers, solemnly.
He sees them. He waves. The old man stretches out his hand.
“Hello. Hello.” An echo; a smile; a sunny disposition.
Her balloon flies free into the fading sun.