Promenade Bench


The Promenade Bench.

Sitting down.
Looking down.
Shuffling my feet.
Avoiding the gaze. Of runners. Old folks. Passing by. That look. But won’t greet.
The ocean air feels light.
Fresh. And flowing. The sea gulls glide above. Taking flight.
The atmosphere somehow still feels heavy.
Or is it me that’s off balance? Feeling unsteady.
The Promenade is busy. Many running along. On an evening jog.
A man and his wife on a stroll. Moved along by an excited dog.
There is a man wearing a luminescent yellow bib. He is a black man.
He stands to the left of me. Behind me. Guiding cars in the parking lot. He is a black man.
The cars in the lot are shiny.
Suddenly another man catches my attention. Selling ice cream. Seeing my vacant expression. He recognizes quickly his request was untimely.
He would be called a “coloured man”. I guess.
He is smiling at me. It’s very wide. All the way up to his eyes. I wonder. Isn’t he stressed?
I decline. I am cold. I’m not used to the wind that blows here.
He nods his head. Not Surprised. Marches on. Asking the family on my side. Smiling. No fear.
I tilt my eyes. Towards the skies.
Looking longingly at the Kites. As they move. While they fly.
I follow the thin string. That ties it to the ground.
I try to listen to the howling wind. Whispering into my ear. Things I can’t hear. Listening to the sound.

Crash.

The waves. Crashed. Right into the walls of the promenade. Casting a light shower to fall upon my face.
How far has this water traveled? Where do this drops hail from? Which place?
I was a bit startled. By the crash followed by the coolness.
Now I looked forward. With my eyes now opened wide. Taking in the colours of the deep blue. In all it’s fullness.
What lies on the other side of that horizon? Just beyond my sight.
Is there another sitting at a Promenade bench. Wondering what lies beyond what their eyes can reach. Just beyond their sight.

The sky is fading into amber. It’s like the very light in the sky caught on fire.
The blueness of the ocean. Is now turning darker. Something deeper than black.
There are voices around me. Carried to my ears. Infrequently. By the will of the wind.
Portuguese. German. Dutch. Voices of people from far away. I suspect.
I look around to see where these voices come from. Bodies that look burnt by our sun. Though. I guess, some would say they are tanned.
They are wearing light flowing material. Some are walking hand in hand.
I’m sure for them the promenade is simply  just “Grand”
Do they feel guilty? Should they feel guilty? Why do I feel guilty? For sitting here. On this bench. Enjoying this land.

The Promenade Bench.
Where I sat that day.
Was free to for anyone. And yet the comfort to be there. Comes with a price. Many cannot afford to pay.
How is it that somehow the sky seems more beautiful from here?
How can that be? I should feel the same. When I look up. Anywhere.

Now too cold. I stood up.
With my hands fleeing to my pockets. Wrapping up.
I saw the Ice cream man also packing up.
His cooler box strapped to his side.
Pulled by the wind. Making his frame tilt over to one side.
He sat down on the grass beside my bench. And counted the day’s money.
I cast him a fleeting smile. And our eyes met.
He return a smile. But this time it didn’t make it all the way across his face.

Crash.

The waves. Crashed. Right into the walls of the promenade. Casting a light shower to fall on our faces.
How far has this water traveled? Where do this drops hail from? Which place?
No longer startled. By the crash followed by the coolness.
I averted my gaze. And continued to make my way. To seek the warmth of my home. Determined to remove from my memory the trace.
Of what I just seen hidden behind his smiling face.

I turned around. One more time. Before I left.
Watching the man seated on the grass.
Beside that damn Promenade Bench.

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