A Walk in the Park

Rosalie Robison

© Copyright 2020 by Rosalie Robison

Photo of a tree by Rosalie Robison.
                Photo © by Rosalie Robison

This is a short story reminiscing the ‘why’ of two similar situations with one of my photos to illustrate a point. 

As I walked through the snowy park down the winding path past black trees against a white background, I heard a door slam to my left. Glancing that way I saw a man medium height with a short black jacket and reddish brown mid length hair. I looked again. A strong resemblance set my mind working even though I had taken a break from writing to go for a walk. I began writing the story as I walked.

He looked like a teacher I had known in the past who doubled as a chef in the evenings at a local café where I had worked as a waitress. One night after I had been working there for nearly two years he and his partner, another teacher and part time chef, and his partner’s wife invited me to go out after work with them. We went to a bar and played a few video games. Later this man drove me home and when he got to my door asked to come up to my flat. I knew what he had in mind and said no. Later that evening after drinking, he smashed up his orange Corvette. For weeks he looked despondent at work. Even his bubbly girlfriend, who also waitressed at the café, could not cheer him up. About a month later, he cornered me in the kitchen and grabbed my left breast pulling me towards him with a hard kiss. I pushed him away and told him that was what he wanted. Embarrassed, he said not to say anything to his partner. A few weeks later, a new waitress, who told sick jokes, started working at the café. Suddenly I had no job.

Then I was reminded of my very first job, babysitting four children all age five and under. A challenge no less, but they were usually sleeping when I came to sit in the evening when their parents went out and came back very late. One summer the woman asked me to watch the children during the day while she slept as she worked as a nurse on the third shift in a hospital. After a few weeks of the baby spitting up on me, kitchen cleanser dribbled all over the floor, and trying to keep the children occupied or chasing them around, I’d had enough and decided the job was not worth it. I declined after that summer, but agreed to sit at night if the couple wished to go out. Since they usually arrived home at 3 or 4 in the morning, the man always drove me home. He began asking me about school, trying to be my friend, wanting to help me with a science project. His interest seemed all wrong to me. I politely declined his offers to help, never encouraging any interest from him. Often he would keep me a half hour or more sitting in his car talking before I could leave and go inside my house. His wife became cold towards me and then one day I no longer had a babysitting job.

Through no fault of my own, circumstances repeated. Walking further through the park, I see all the geese have disappeared from the lagoon now filled with ice and snow. Where do they go? I want to ask the man I see approaching walking around from the other side of the pond or the man in the yellow utility truck parked near the street curb up ahead, but I do not trust either one to know the answer. A small tree, bent under snow, leans out across the snow towards me as if to say help me, I have fallen and cannot get up. Approaching the park house and wide set of steps leading down to the lagoon, I am reminded of how lonely the park looks. When I grew up, all the parks had houses and warming rooms for ice skaters, hot chocolate waiting when we got too cold out on the ice. In the summer, a public swimming pool was alive with kids romping and playing in the water. Now, empty. Kids do not ice skate anymore; they sit inside with video games instead. Yet up ahead I see a large tree with an elegant graceful arm. It says come to me. I will take you in. No questions asked. I want nothing from you. I am only a tree. I will not harm you. Comforted, I walk the rest of the way home knowing I did nothing wrong, but was punished anyway.

I am a freelance writer of varying genres. 

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