I was sitting in the park alone, eating lunch, sharing it with the birds and the squirrels, enjoying the scenery, the slightly breezy weather, I decided to take out the book which I was reading when a gentleman asked to sit beside me, I did not mind, as long as he was quite and not very talkative, I do need to return this book to the library soon and this is one of the books I really would like to finish. He was young, definitely younger than me, but not that young almost in his thirties, casually dressed in jeans, polo shirt and designer sneakers, olive complexion or what my friends would say, light skinned. I was trying to observe him, just enough to “touch” my curiosity, I did not want him to think I was interested, he is much too young and my son is about the same age and would have a “fit.”
He tried to spark a conversation first by asking about the book which I was reading, I switched my eyes over to him, signaling that I did not want to be disturbed, after a while I did not want to appear rude, so I talked about what I read so far in this book. It appeared he was not going to stop talking because he continued speaking to me this time about living in the city, since it seemed I was not going is to get any reading done because it’s difficult to listen to someone talk without being rude and listen to my inner voice read these wonderful words in this lovely book, I stopped reading and decided to participate in the conversation. Besides it’s been a while since I had a somewhat meaningful conversation that did not involve my inner voice or my cat and the cat is not a good conversationalist at all, very stubborn. He starts to speak again.
“Living in the city is wonderful, there are parks and shops and museums, and food, if you lucky to get a good restaurant.”
“Yes it has it benefits, I do like the park.”
“I love sitting in the park, watching people, watching nature grow before your eyes.”
“Well I don’t know about nature growing, I think you would have to sit a while to see that, it grows at its own speed, but watching the birds and the squirrels, how they play, or don’t play, watching the people, sitting in the park on a nice day or not so nice day is therapeutic, I do it when I can.”
“What about the museums, the galleries, the food?”
“Well I do love the food, depending on the food truck or restaurant, I don’t visit galleries like I should, it would be something new for me and of course if I don’t visit galleries I don’t visit museums.”
“Don’t you like them?”
“I love art and exhibits, I don’t know what stops me.”
“You should, it’s good entertainment, for the mind and soul.”
“I spend a lot of time in the library.”
“Reading is good too.” “Some libraries have exhibits.”
I just nodded in agreement. We were silent for a while. Both of us just observing scenery. He decided to spark conversation, again.
“So what type of food do you like?”
“I don’t have a favorite type as long as the food is good, I like it.” “If I find a restaurant that serves good food, it could be Thai, Chinese, Italian, Indian, whatever, if it’s good I will go to that restaurant.” “Even a good truck if the food is good my stomach wants to go to that truck.”
“But I do like a good sandwich.”
“Sandwiches are wonderful.”
“You like coffee shops, you like the ones with internet access?”
“When I go to a coffee shop especially when I go early, I like to purchase my coffee, sit at a table where there is a lot of sun glare and just relax”
The conversation stops for a while. Both of us resumed watching the scenery around us. We looked at each other periodically and smiled. I thought it would be safe to resume my reading.
“Well it was nice to talk to you, we need people to talk to once in a while.” “Thank you for talking with me, it was a very pleasant conversation.”
He held out his hand for me to shake. I shook his hand and smiled. I watched as he walked down the path on his way out the park. I thought how nice he was, it’s good when you meet nice people even if they are in your life for minutes, it’s those few minutes that make you realize there are still nice people living in the city.
I resumed my reading, uninterrupted, which was nice. It appeared that I was reading for hours without even noticing the scenery around me, it was getting dusk by the time I finally took notice, I took out my cell phone to check the time, put the book in my bag and made my way out the park and towards going back home.
When I got home and checked my voice mail, I received a disturbing message about a close friend, she had been attacked. I grabbed a different handbag, made sure I had my phone, money, keys and made my way to the hospital. When I reached the hospital room where my close friend was, I was in shocked, her face was badly bruised, she was surrounded by her family; her parents, her sister and brothers, all trying to comfort and ease her pain, what she must be going through.
I went over to her bed, hugged her family members, her mother stepped aside so that I could give her a hug.
“I’m so sorry this happened to you.”
Of course she was so distraught and frightened. A female officer asked if she could come into the room to talk with her. My friend shook her head, she asked if her family and I could stay with her as the police officer wanted more details about what happened and show pictures of the suspect. I was surprised she was so responsive, so willing to give information about the attack. I felt sad for her and proud of her at the same time. She really wants this guy to pay the price for this crime. Then the officer showed pictures of possible suspects, I thought sure the “interview” will stop but Kelly kept going through the process, flipping through a series of photos, then it happened. As Kelly was flipping through the book, I happened to see a familiar face, it was him, I was in shock, I was further astonished when Kelly chose the attacker that turned out to be him. I gasped. Everybody looked at me. Kelly and the officer looked at me.
“I’m in shock” I said.
I pointed to the picture of this guy, the suspect, the guy that I met only briefly, the guy that appeared so nice, so kind, so friendly. Thoughts began to plague my mind “Is this how he get his victims? Was he planning to stalk, attack me? “What made him talk to me? “Am I safe.”
“I was talking to this guy while I was in the park today” “He seemed so nice.”
The officer closed the book, wrote down some notes in her book, and thanked me and Kelly for the information, she was in a rush, she told Kelly they will track and catch this guy, the officer suggested that I stay with friends for a little while,just to stay on the safe side, she assured me they would catch this guy very soon, they have the evidence and information they needed.
The officer left the room. I was shaking my head. Kelly’s mother came over to me and gave me a hug. You just never know. You just never know.