Snapshot Stories – New York 1957

Winter trees 2

I sat on a park bench and watched a pigeon peck the ground at my feet. The sky was a heavy white. The branches of the trees were bare, save for the evergreens that pinched the air with their resinous aroma.

I sat with my hands in my lap, fingers interlaced; the cold crisp air numbing the tips. I had left my gloves on the coffee table.

There was a woman a short distance away in a red woollen coat walking a small dog. My own grey overcoat was thick and warm, although I had left the top button open, something that as a small child my mother had insisted I shouldn’t do. Mother used to wear a red overcoat, especially when visiting aunt Mazie; though she disliked dogs with a  passion – smelly, noisy creatures – she used to say – Rather like small children – my father would retort, blowing a cloud of smoke up into the what he called ‘Clancy- airspace’; one day they’d send a man to the moon.

The wooden slats of the bench were hard against my back, and I imagined I would have been more comfortable if I had stayed home sitting in my armchair. But I had been compelled to step outside, walk along fifth avenue and to the park where I could find a quiet spot and sit in peace. No reason, other than to sit and remember what it was like growing up amongst the tall buildings, the hotdog stands, and the heavy rattle of the subway trains thundering overhead. Today I was just someone sitting on a park bench, tomorrow I would be a man in his forties and suddenly I wouldn’t be a child anymore.


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Don't forget to breathe...

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