“Would you like something to drink?”
We approach the park, and you stop momentarily.
I become aware that youre walking slightly ahead of me.
You point towards a local shop.
“I’m just gonna get the bread.. why don’t I meet you there?”
I become a little lost words.
Were you ashamed of being seen with me? Surely not. After all this time of trying to talk to me, and now you don’t want to be seen with me?
I shake the thought from my head. Don’t be stupid. He just wants to buy bread.
“Sure.. il meet you there.”
Aware that I had absolutely no idea where I was going. I let my feet do the walking..
The air becomes icey, yet the park was buzzing with children in their school uniform. The fields were alive with the excitement of family dogs.
Letting the air into my lungs, I immediately feel at ease. Why had I never been here before?
Kicking at the gravel for five minutes, I realise I’ve walked into the middle of nowhere. There was no lake, no pond. I had no idea where I was.
I sit down on a bench, not wanting to get lost any further.
I pull out my phone.. wondering.. would he call to find out where I was?
My mind goes on overdrive with panicking thoughts.
What if he doesn’t turn up?
What if.. what if he does turn up? What if he takes me to the lake and there’s no one there? What if he has no intention of feeding the ducks?
What was I doing?
As the realisation hits of the possibilities of what could happen.. I decide that I wouldn’t stick around. I couldn’t possibly put myself in this situation.
I stand up abruptly.. you know, obviously without looking up.
And there I go.. knocking my head into your nose.
You shout obscenities and keel over holding your nose.
Did I just break your nose?
“Oh my god! Are you okay?”
I grab hold of your back and try to pull you up.
You uncover your nose and start laughing.
You laugh harder, staring at me.
I blush, aware that you had just fooled me.
“You’re hard headed il give you that, but my nose has been through worse.”
You give me a slight nudge on the shoulder and I realise you’re being playful. Gently playful. I nudge you back and you immediately lean over to me.
I panic and step back. I raise my hands to push you away.
“Woah. Calm down. I dropped the bread behind you. I’m not going to kiss you.”
You break out in laughter again. Once you were holding the bread in your hand.
I realise I had made a fool out of myself. Again.
I cover my face and try to calm myself down.
Apologetic, I take a deep breath and cringe before I drop my hands.
“I’m so sorry.”
“It’s fine.” You smile – with your shiny teeth again.
I smirk once I see them.
You close your mouth with embarrassment.
This could get fun.
You keep your distance. Aware that I’m being slightly awkward. Leading me to the lake.
You talk about my work. My family. My home. My hobbies. My life. My love life.
I ask about yours.
In the next ten minutes or so, I learn enough about you to know that you would be special to me.
I learn of your sisters passing and you struggling to bring up your nephew. I learn of your younger sisters divorce. I learn that you had been relieved of your career due to mental health issues. I learn of your struggles with money, with heartbreak.. with drug addiction.
I learn of your weaknesses.
And as your closing argument comes to a finish, you kneel on the floor and light up a cigarette.
“I’ve never opened up to someone like that before. I’ve never made it sound real before.”
I don’t say a word.
I don’t judge you by your experience, but I acknowledge your pain.
And in that instance I made a friend.
As I sit down beside you, you look over to me.
“I think me and you.. wer gonna be okay.”
I smirk again at your shiny teeth.
And this time.
You smile bigger.
“Take a good look. Get all your laughs out now!”
I laugh at you. You laugh back.
In that moment I forget everything.
I forget that I’m alone with a stranger, deep in the neck of the woods, next to a cold lake.
I forget that this was a guy who I thought was a psychopath.
And at once, I let myself be at ease with you.
I’d made a friend in you. A friend while feeding the ducks.
“Thank you for giving me the chance to spend time with you.”
“It’s been a pleasure.”