I know, I know, Fridays are usually Guess What?, but it’s been a long, long day. I went to the doctors this morning, then was out longer than expected, so I’ve decided to compromise, different short story today, but Guess What? will be up tomorrow instead.
I’m insanely tired so I’m going to go lie down or nap or something.
On with the show!
The sun glinted off the rippling water, he raised his hand, trying to block the undulating glare that shone in his eyes. He squinted, trying to see, it was too bright, to warm. He wanted to be inside somewhere, where it was cool and there were no harsh lights. The ground underneath him was hard and solid, at least the ground was cool. There was grass, but it wasn’t doing much in way of cushioning him. He shifted around, turning his back to the river and the sun. It was better, but worse at the same time. He wanted to face the river, he didn’t like having his back to it. He looked around the park, everything seemed normal, a pair of children ran around, a couple on a bench glanced at them occasionally, their conversation too engaging to spend the time properly supervising their children. One child tripped, fell, then got back up and started running again, neither of the people on the bench noticed the child falling. A man walked slowly with his dog, throwing a tennis ball, the dog would bound after it, tail wagging excitedly, before grabbing the ball and racing back, shoving its head into the mans hand, forcing him to take the ball back. A woman strolled casually with a pram, occasionally reaching in to adjust the blanket or wave a toy. The park was emptier than usual, but that didn’t bother him too much, it was probably better that way. Behind him something splashed in the river, he turned his head, straining his neck trying to see what it was. The glittering surface refused to reveal its secrets, probably a fish or someone throwing a rock or something. That was all. Sunglasses. He should have brought sunglasses. Sitting up properly, he stripped off his jacket, then bundled it into a ball. He lay down, using his jacket as a pillow and closed his eyes.
Really it was the waiting he couldn’t stand, he was never good at it. He could never seem to distract himself properly, books grew boring, television shows trite and annoying. A dog started barking, he assumed it was the one he saw before. He didn’t know what kind of dog it was, probably a Labrador or something. They were pretty common. The dogs barks were deep, heavy, someone called out something, probably trying to get the stupid thing to calm down. He looked at the sky, it was remarkably blue, there were no clouds today, faint, occasional wisps of white passed overhead, but nothing substantial. A child shrieked, there was yelling. Kid probably fell again, couple arguing about who should have been watching, neither pointing out that both of them were equally to blame. The dogs barking was cut off by a high pitched yelp, the guy walking it probably kicked the thing. It was quiet now, the river rushed along merrily, the sound was peaceful, relaxing. The kid started crying, a building wail followed by high shrieky sobs that were starting to peter out. He looked at his watch, she was late. Not that that was surprising, but it was very, very annoying. He knew that if he missed her she wouldn’t wait so it was best to be early, just in case. A shadow fell across him, someone blocking the light, he squinted up, there she was, the sun casting a halo of glare around her head. She sat down heavily beside him, brushing her long blond hair from her face. “Jeez, did you see that?” “What?” “Dog went metal, jumped on a kid. Didn’t bite or anything, just barked in the kids face.” “That’s pretty fucked up.” “Yeah. Kid deserved it though.” “Why?” “I dunno. Probably did something stupid. Kids do stuff like that.” she plonked the paper bag onto his chest, it was heavy, heavier than he expected and the surprise drove some air from his lungs. “It’s all there, you’ll want to check no doubt. You always check.” “Indeed I do.” he sat up and started rifling through the contents of the bag. She pouted her luscious red lips at him, “You never trust me” “You never gave me a reason to.” everything was in the bag. “Good. Here.” he dug into his pocket then tossed an envelope at her, she caught it deftly, then slid it into her own pocket. “Aren’t you going to check?” “No, I trust you.” “That’s pretty stupid.” “Maybe.” they sat in silence for a few moments, she was staring at the river, he stared at her legs. She wore a pair of shorts, revealing the pale, smooth flesh. Looking away, he tried to see where the kid had been attacked, but they were gone, as was the man with the dog, only the woman remained, she had taken the place of the young couple, a cigarette hanging from her mouth, the end glowing red, thin strands of smoke rising lazily before being snatched away by the breeze, the woman pushed the pram back and forth.
He turned his gaze back to her, more specifically at her legs, and noticed she was barefoot, toes wriggling. He wasn’t surprised. She stood up and brushed herself down, “see ya next time.” she walked off, not looking back, it gave him the perfect opportunity to stare at her ass. Once she was too far to see, he looked around again. The woman with the pram was walking again, in no particular rush and after a few moments, she disappeared behind a clump of trees. He was alone. He started sorting through the bag, looking at everything inside. He would be finished soon enough, another couple of days and it would be done. He packed everything away and stood, stretching slightly. He started to walk away, looking back at the river distrustfully. As soon as it was gone from view he felt better and after a few steps he began to hum.