An Hour in the Park

 

Have you ever had one of those moments in life where nothing else mattered in the world and you wished that moment would last forever?

 

 After my trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York I decided to take a straight shot through Central Park and to a Kinko's on the south corner.

I was walking through Central Park and had stopped and looked around a boathouse with a restaurant. I browsed around a bit and then left. Right around the corner there was an eight-year-old girl getting her fortune told by a lady at a small table. There was a group of women standing around her being entertained as the lady told the girl her fortunes. It was her birthday. She seemed so excited. I glanced and said hello to one young lady who was standing there with the group. She smiled back with a beautiful sparkle and said hello. Not wanting to interfere, I walked on. For several steps I kept seeing her face in my mind. There was a glow that kept my attention. I walked a few more steps and turned to get another glance. Surely she would resume her entertainment with the young girl. As I turned she looked again, yet again with that mesmerizing smile.

I paused, but then kept going. What was I going to do? Walk up to her, meet her, tell her how enchanting she was, get her number, and then just leave? After all, I was on this cross-country trip. I had no time to be meeting anybody. I had no reason to meet somebody so far from where I lived. What was I thinking?

I couldnít help myself. I had to go back. I walked back to her and didnít know what to say. Her smile grew larger as did her energy. I could feel a positive feeling. I almost stuttered how nice her smile was and how I was compelled to come back and talk to her, of course not in those same words. I was at a loss for words. Yes, the little shy boy inside of me didnít know what to say, what to do.

We talked for a moment when she described to me what was going on with the little girl and about how it was her birthday. She was a photographer and was taking pictures of the event for free since they were all friends. They were all headed over to a cafť a block from Central Park West where they were to meet some more friends to have a party.

            As we started to walk it began to rain just a bit. The young girls and their mothers kept on to the cafť. It began to rain more and more until I was concerned about my camera and so was she.

            We ducked in under a tunnel where we heard some street musicians playing. A girl was playing a violin and a guy was strumming his guitar. The two made a remarkable sound together. I donít think Iíd ever heard anything quite like it. We listened and admired the music for quite some time.

            As we admired the music several people dropped some loose change and money into their instrument cases. I looked into my pocket and the smallest thing I had was a twenty-dollar bill. I really wanted to go over to them and give them the money but wanted to make change. A humorous thought of reaching down and trying to make change crossed through my mind. Just a few moments went by and my friend dropped a few dollars into the mix. I felt better knowing that one of us two had donated for the entertainment. Although at the same time I was hoping that my friend didnít think I was cheap for not giving any myself. I tried not to let it concern me and just enjoyed the music more.

            Several more people entered the tunnel and we decided to move further back away from the crowd so we could talk amongst ourselves better and more privately. We had a wonderful conversation and I really didnít want it to end. Unfortunately she had things to do and I had things to do and, although time could have stopped right there, the world was still turning outside the tunnel. As we looked outside we could see that it had stopped raining. It had actually stopped for quite some time but I didnít say anything in hopes that she would not either.

            Numerous times I looked into her beautiful blue eyes, trying to see further into her. They were such an amazing blue that I donít think Iíd ever really seen. Perhaps it was just me and I was seeing something there that I never seen before. Maybe not the actual color of the eyes but the person behind them. It seemed to make them shine even brighter and all I remember of them is that they were so very bright blue. They are now etched upon my mind as a permanent reminder of that very special day.

            We finally stopped talking for a while. I couldnít find any more words to say. I just wanted to keep looking at her. One of those moments I feel stupid for a loss of words, it seemed the only thing left to do was agree that it had finally stopped raining.

            We went up the stairs to the open air. The park was very serene. The people were coming out again and there were cyclists and joggers and people on roller-blades. The air was quite steamy and we both admired how the new heat was evaporating the water from the ground right in front of us. It created a fog across the pavement and changed the atmosphere around us. I took a few pictures to try to capture the moment but I feel that it could not do it justice.

 

            We walked on and to the edge of the park. She looked at me but I couldnít tell what kind of look it really was. We were to split there and go separate ways. The cafť where she was heading was one direction and Kinkoís, the other. For a moment it seemed that we would part there but I insisted on walking her the rest of the way to the cafť. Just a few blocks away it was really not to far out of my way. We reached the front of the establishment and started to say our goodbyes. Exchanging information so as to contact each other later, we hugged, and with a very light kiss on the cheek she moved away. I took her hand and looked her in the eye for one more moment and turned away. What must have taken only a few seconds seemed to last so much longer. But not long enough for me. I walked off, turning slightly to catch a glimpse of her entering the cafť.

            I was actually hungry myself and considered eating there but refrained. It was the girlís party, and I surely was already distracting my friend from her duties and surely would have wanted to do so again.

            I walked on towards Central Park West to head to Kinkoís on the south end of the park.

            I tried to call her the next day but never got an answer. I had hoped to see her again and spend some time with her but never was able to catch her. I left a few messages on her home and cell phone but got no calls back.

            I had thought that maybe she was just being nice and didnít want to tell me no. Maybe some other things came up and she had to work. In any case, I didnít speak to her again and havenít seen her since. Just an hour in the park will remain on my mind as a wonderful memory and glimpse into what my heart can feel at any given moment. A glimpse into the fact that such wonderful feelings can exist. 

    No, I didnít fall in love, but for that moment I truly did love, that moment.

            I had hoped that it would never end but it certainly, and inevitably did, and although the moment is gone, it is still here in my heart and my mind.

         For that, my friend, I thank you.

 

 

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