The Way Home
Chapter 3

Copyright© 2019 by barbar

Slap file closed. Into out-tray. (thunk) Look at watch. Time to go. Time for my little girl.

Pick up briefcase. Two files from in-tray. Drop into briefcase. (click-click) Check reflection in window. Straighten tie. Pull door closed. (snick)

Wave to secretary. “Good night Molly.”

“Good night, Mr Richardson. See you tomorrow.”

Keep walking.

(Traffic) (voices) Two crowded blocks, then into the park. (birds)

Longer strides.

Park bench is filled with memories – and a man. The same man.

This time he wears a navy blue suit with a matching tie. I wonder how a blind man chooses a matching tie. He must have a wife.

He shifts his head. Tilts it to one side. Listens to my approaching footsteps. He has a sketch pad on his lap.

“Hello again?”

He turns his face towards me. Eyes hide behind dark glasses.

I wonder how he knows it’s me.

“I’m back in Memorial Park, aren’t I?”

This time his voice sounds more confident. He knows where he is.

“Yes, you are.”

No time to chat. My girl will be waiting.

Pat park bench. (memories make me smile)

He thrusts his sketch pad at me.

“Did I get the trees right?”

I don’t want to get held up but I can’t help myself. I look at his sketch. It’s a pencil drawing of a row of trees – neatly drawn and precise. The tops of the trees are speckled with every colour of the rainbow, plus a few colours from no rainbow I’ve ever seen.

“I think you overdid the colours.”

“I did? You said every colour.” His voice is accusing. As if I had betrayed him. I feel guilty.

“Leaves generally don’t turn silver, or pink, or lime green,” I explain. “Also the trees over to the left are all gum trees, so their leaves are green.”

He waved his sketch pad in the air and made this little annoyed hissing sound.

“You need to be more precise, or you won’t be helpful at all.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t stay. I have to meet my daughter.”

He holds out his hand – expecting a handshake.

“I won’t keep you then. My name is Benito. Thank you for your time.”

I shake his hand.

“I’m Edward – Edward Richardson. Good afternoon.”

“Good afternoon, Edward Richardson.”

I turn and hurry down the path.

“Wait!” he calls.

I stop and turn.

“What colour is the path? Is there a pattern?”

“Er ... it’s kind of a red-brick colour. It’s made of red-brick tiles in a diamond pattern.”

“And the bench?”

“That’s a kind of dark green.”

“Thank you, Edward Richardson.”

I scurry away.

Path opens into paved circle. Fountain sprays and hisses and gurgles.

Stop.

I stop and look at the fountain.

 
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