Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Man

She had 10 minutes to kill.
He was fishing off the bank. She could see him from where she stopped on the footbridge after realizing she had 10 minutes to kill. She watched him, oblivious to the traffic behind her, lost in the music coming through her headphones. He wore khaki pants, a button up shirt, a red sweater vest. He was maybe in his late sixties, had white hair, and a bushy but tamed beard and mustache. From the bridge she couldn't make out if he had shoes on or not. She would have believed it either way.
She watched him for the entire 10 minutes, by himself, throwing the line out, waiting, then bringing it back in. Initially she was somewhat distracted by the ducks that splattered the water between where she stood on the bridge and the man. They would catch her eye as they darted under water, wagging their bottoms in a way that made her smile every time she saw it, regardless of the reality that she was in fact the saddest she had been in quite some time.
There was something so comforting about watching that man. She could feel her body relax over the wall of the bridge, the tension in her neck and shoulders give way to a posture much more at ease, relaxed even. Each time he cast out over the water her eyes moved with his bait, following it through the air, diving with it beneath the surface, bobbing with it as he pulled it back in against the water. Occasionally the man set the rod down after he cast out, walked back to his tackle box, his bags, seemed to be looking around for something, maybe more bait, or some water to drink. He, too, oblivious to the cars whipping by, the people out walking, or biking, or running, loving, or hating, or forgetting.
He never seemed to notice her either, and yet somehow suggested to her, for the first time, that perhaps loneliness was nothing more than a state of mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment