It felt like the wind was knocked out of him. Shortness of breath. He could only walk a few steps ‘fore he had to sit down. Carried a cane. Autumn was his favorite season.
He’d sit in the park downtown on a bench watching people stroll by. Some were in a hurry while others took their time. Mail carriers, dog walkers, young professionals, lawyers on their way to make a case for someone; always an argument. Always.
The fat man liked to watch the wind blowing leaves as well. Golden colored with twinges of rust and red fell from the tall oaks and Japanese maples. He wished he could dance in the piles of them. Soon they’d be swept away by uniformed men carrying brooms. The old man feared so would he.
I’m too tired for this, he whispered. I just want to sit here till I die, he thought. And then a young woman sat down next to him with two coffees in her hands. She nodded to him. He smiled at her. The pretty girl offered him a cup.
It’s got cream and sugar in it, she said. I assumed. My mother says I shouldn’t assume, but, I always do. I’m pretty spot-on, they laughed. I see you out here all the time. Always wanted to talk to you, she extended her hand. Patty, she said. My name is Patty. The old man shook her hand and said his name was Patrick, as in St. Patrick. Her green eyes got big. Were you born on St. Pat’s too? he nodded with a smile. They said a toast and clinked their cups together.
I was born in 1942, he said. I’ve seen a lot. Too much. I get tired of the news, Patrick pulled out a pipe. I just like to come here and look at things…people, buildings, trees. No one’s ever bought me coffee before. Thank you. Patty told him he was welcome.
They sat side by side in silence drinking coffee. Just smiling at each other as the wind blushed their faces.
Before she left, the teenage girl gave Patrick a kiss on his cheek. I’ll see you tomorrow, she said. He smiled.
Tomorrow, he was not there.