I open my mouth to answer but the man beats me to the punch. “You want to know why?” he enquires. I nod, and again he remarks about my silence before continuing “Well, I must be off. Goodbye”.
I go to reply, asking for his name, but the man is off in a flourish before I can open my mouth. I watch as he walks away, his dark-navy coloured coat flowing behind him like a cape, before I notice what he’s left behind. On the bench where he sat, is his newspaper, and I wonder if he left it on purpose. I look around, checking that the surrounding people aren’t looking and I sneak it into my satchel. I have to know who he his, because I am curious and he was strange. My phone rings distracting me from my thoughts and the caller ID informs me it’s my mother.
“Sena, I’ve been waiting for you for twenty minutes now. Where are you?” she enquires with fury. I laugh in realisation – the strange man has made me forget my purpose of walking through the park in the first place.
The park separates my home with my workplace and while I avoid it most days, choosing to take the more urban route around it, today I was running late so I took the cut through. It’s not like I don’t like it, but the park feels like a relic to me. Everytime I go through it I notice something that was, something I don’t understand yet, and it makes me feel ignorant to the world. So I avoid it – I stick to the places built in the after, rather than the places that bloomed long before the before.
I work for my mother at a firm that works to investigate. We have no direction or purpose, we are simply hired to find things out, and it’s this nature that led me to the man in the first place. But I’m not even sure if this is a story I can tell my mother. This, this newspaper I think, is too much. This is probably a project I’ll have to tackle on my own. So I lie.
“Sorry, I’m just in the park. Give me ten minutes,” I reply and my mother sighs.
“This is a very important meeting you know Sena.” she replies and I apologise again, breaking into a jog to get to the other side of the open green space that currently consumes me.