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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man watches the sun rise from a park bench facing the ocean. During this time he witnesses the flow of people around him all the while feeling more distant from them.

Submitted: February 08, 2014

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Submitted: February 08, 2014



I rested, stretched out across a bench, enveloped in darkness. My position offered a pristine view of the ocean and with the quick shattering of the nearby streetlight I was at peace.

The chill felt as if it were at its peak, fighting alongside the darkness struggling mightily to supress the rising sun and the warmth that came with it. It was hopeless. The sun would rise and banish those like myself better suited to a world that lives with the dying rays of sunset.

The stillness and peace was already fading. The world around me began to stir again. Birds burst into song as a grey dawn gave way to the soft pinks and reds of sunrise. I reached for my bottle with the hopes that a mouthful would dull the roar of life that would soon shatter my bliss.

My bench was situated on the edge of a sidewalk that came across the peak of a hill. At the base of the hill was the edge of the bay, with a perfectly manicured grassy expanse in between. The green was broken only by a small boxed in sandy area with bright colored plastic and metal shaped into slides, tunnels and monkeybars.

A woman jogged by on the path I sat beside, her shaggy dog leading the way, both panting with exertion, both with the energy of a new day bursting forth. The bottle, as always, wasn’t helping. I watched them pass, angry at their disturbing me and simultaneously jealous of their simple blissful existence.

The fog was burning off the ocean, with the dewed grass soon drying out.The smell of salt carried on the breeze that had begun to come off the ocean, and a small triangle of white cloth came into view, situated just this side of what appeared to be the edge of the world. Seagulls soon began to fly overhead, crying out to one another in the daily search to break their fast.

It must have been the weekend. The small park was a favorite for the locals. Children from the nearby neighborhood having finished their Saturday morning cartoons and cereal soon made their way over on bicycles and skateboards. I watched one small group of them gather around to trade cards or play some new game created by a marketing whiz that capitalized on the latest craze to sweep the youth. Bikes dropped around the circle they formed haphazardly, barring those not taking place in the ritual from entrance.

A family pulled up and unloaded their van. A smiling mother gathered up the littlest one while the other two children burst past her and ran screaming with excitement and joy towards the epic adventures waiting to be had at a jungle-gym. The father grabbed the ice chest and blanket and fell in stride with the mother while giving a playful shout to be careful.

I grabbed the crinkled brown bag that encased my only salve for the day and took two large drinks. Even that wasn’t enough to discourage the old man who had hobbled to my bench and sat, initially unnoticed, at the other end of my bench.

“Beautiful day, eh son?”

I grunted in response after taking a very obvious pull from my antidote.

“Now, it can’t be all that bad, can it?”

I decided to respond, “Oh, it can. But those days are few and far between.”

I was dry and had already grown tired of human interaction. I stood to leave.

“Stay a while, enjoy the sun and keep an old man company," as he sat back to soak in the sun on his careworn face.

“Sorry, sir, those are two things I’ve not enjoyed for a long time.”

I turned to leave.

“Now son, that can’t be true. Of all the places in the dark you could choose to rest your head, you chose this one. One that you knew would soon fill with life as soon as that beautiful sun broke the horizon.”

I paused for a moment, considering what he’d said. It was true. The sunrise was magnificent in its destruction of my peace.

I walked away to find a new place to escape. As I did, I heard a happy tune carried on the breeze. It was the old man, and I swear I could hear his smile through the notes.

© Copyright 2019 DRBernal. All rights reserved.

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