Manila Park

Alexander S. Peak


Tears ran down her race as she put away her phone.  She was standing in Manila Park, with the rest of the world falling away.

With her hands against her face, she knelt down near the grass, as though doing so would shield her from the sight of those in the park.  My mother, she thought to herself.  My mother...I must go backShe needs me nowShe needs meI...need her.

“Mommy, why is that lady crying?”

“Don’t stare, Timmy!”

Nobody knows what I’m going throughSome crazy lady sobbing in the fucking park.  Fuck them.

Having recomposed herself a little, she wiped her wet cheeks and stood up.  Despite the sun being bright in the sky, all she saw reflected in that pond, which was populated by a family of ducks, were the grey clouds looming about.  She never believed in God before, but at this point it didn’t matter.  She was praying for a heaven.  There must be a heaven!  There must!

Oh, God, please let there be a HeavenLet...let there be a you!

The ducks had swam closer to where was standing.  Some children had started feeding them bread.  She didn’t know what she wanted more: to be in solitude, or to sit back, watch the kids, and forget her pain.

Of course, she couldn’t forget it.  When she had been a little girl, her father would bring her and her sister to this very same pond to feed the ducks.  He loved this park.  Those ducks have probably passed on; same park, though—same trees.  Every year, they would have a huge family picnic there.  Just past those trees, there was a pleasant clearing nearby a stream.  Every year....

The park had been much larger back then.  As she walked to the clearing, to sit at the park tables, she noticed a child in a stroller.  The child, who must have been no more than eighteen months, leaned forward so as to get a better look at her.  The child observed her with the most inquisitive eyes.  She got the impression that the child yearned to learn more about the world around her.  There was more to the world than just this park.  It was still there, still functioning, still moving forward.

She sat down at the table and looked longingly all about her, as if some of the child’s curiosity had rubbed off on her.  Every one of these people will experience losses in their lives.  Every one of them will have experienced loss and pain, but every one of them will also have experienced joy and pleasure.  They would all be able to recall fond memories of their loved ones.  Sorrow and bliss, both are so inseparable from life.  So....

Another wave of tears took over her.  She thought, despite her problems, her loss, she had a great childhood.  Not everybody does.  Her tears were this time a mix of emotions.  The park was as beautiful as ever, and she was part of it.

She stayed for another hour, spending most of that time on the phone with her mother.  She knew that she’d cry again, but right now she had to be strong.  Her mother needed her.  She needed the comfort.  She needed the company.  She needed to be reminded of the joy.

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