Foto bij Chapter thirty-seven

I ate my sandwich slowly, basking in the warmth of the sunlight and the yummy taste of the food. I closed my eyes and chewed. The world felt infinitely lighter now that Liam had given me another chance. I wouldn't ruin it. At least, I wouldn't try to. I giggled, I was unlucky enough as it was, of course I would fail at some point. I just had to hope Liam liked me enough by that time to forgive me again. I had the best of intentions, that was for sure. Somebody stepped in my sunlight, letting me sit in the shadow. I opened my eyes, in front of me was an elderly man.

'Do you mind if I sit next to you, young lady?'

I shook my head and watched as the man took place on the bench next to me. I quickly finished my sandwich and started on my milkshake.

'It's a beautiful day, isn't it?'

'Yes, very nice. Makes the world seem just a little brighter, doesn't it.'

'You're very smart for a young lady like you. You seem to know a lot about life.'

'Oh, no. I mess up. More than I wish to. I have no clue as to how life works. I don't think I'll ever find out.'

'Realizing that you mess up is half of the work. You'll get there. You're already getting there.'

'You think so?'

I turned and faced the elderly man. He was sitting, basking in the sunlight, much as I had done just moments before. The lines in his face were fine, hidden in the shadow of his hat. A cane was settled on his knees, and I noticed only now he was holding a dog line.

'I know so. I was young too, a long time ago yes. But I was young too. I was sitting in a park on a warm summer day, much like we are sitting here right now. I was enjoying the sun, for a moment just forgetting all my problems. I was barely twenty then, and about to get married to the most wonderful girl.'

'What where your problems then?'

'I was afraid of the future, of what would change. An old woman came to sit next to me. She looked at me and said: 'Change is good, young man. Don't forget that.' Of course it was only years later that I realized some changes are for the better, even if they seemed terrible at the time. See, I wasn't sure that I truly loved this woman. I had asked for her hand only because my mother had so insisted.'

'Did you two marry?'

'No.'

'What happened?'

'I bailed. I told her that I couldn't do it. That I couldn't marry someone who didn't hold my heart. I fled you know, all the way to Canada. It was there I met my wife. Lacey. Then I realized, the change you make is the best one. Not the change someone else makes for you.'

'I suppose that makes sense.'

'You don't get it, do you?'

'No, not really.'

'That's fine. You don't have to understand.'

'I don't?'

'No, because you're already doing it. Otherwise you wouldn't be sitting here, able to enjoy the sun in the most simple of ways, and forgetting about your worries.'

I sat, completely flabbergasted. I couldn't quite follow what the man was saying, and I wasn't sure if I should or not. For a moment we were silent and an old white dog bounded up to us, dropping a drool covered tennis ball at my feet.

'That's Sasha, my dog. She loves to play, only I can't play that well with her anymore. Time is catching up with me. Not with her, no, she stays young.'

I grabbed the tennis ball and stood up from the bench. Sasha followed me and watched as I threw the ball before bounding off to fetch it. I smiled. Pets were great, they truly were. I turned back to the old man and opened my mouth to speak again.

'Why do I have to make the change, why can't others do it for me?'

'Well, you know yourself best, don't you?'

'I suppose.'

'Then you're the one able to make the best decisions for yourself.'

'I guess I'm making some good changes to my life. Even if it was brought on by something terrible.'

The man just nodded and the both of us watched Sasha get back to us. I threw the ball again, further this time. The dog was old too, noticeably so, yet still she sprinted like she was young.

'Sasha was actually my wife her dog. She passed away a few years ago. She was exactly like that dog. A young spirit.'

I giggled silently. This conversation was so weird, yet so nice. It felt good to just talk with someone. Just converse and enjoy. I could see why his wife had fallen in love with him. Despite his age he still looked handsome and I could only start to imagine what he would've looked like fifty odd years ago or so. Nice. I snorted. Even if I didn't quite understand why this was happening, it wasn't bad. And it didn't even have to mean anything. Just two regular people, talking. Discussing their lives. Nothing strange about it.

'I thinks Sasha and I should get home. Thank you for the nice talk.'

I nodded and watched as the man whistled once. Sasha came trudging back and took her place at her owner's side. They walked of together, peaceful and silent. Strange, yet nice. I started making my way back to the hospital. Time to take care of some things. We had enough to discuss.

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