unxpeketed22 - Of Verdurous Nature
Johnathon pushed forwards, on his feet. Nothing was wrong, really.
The world around him moved on, it pushed on forward alongside him. The leaves fell from the trees around him, dying, floating past on the summer breeze. Skyscrapers rested their sleepy heads on the pillows of clouds in the sky on all sides of the spherical background.
He looked down, seeing his pants. Brown, clean creased, the fold showing in front of his shins above his shoes.
His palm opened again, where gold glittered with alacrity. A pendant rested in his hand. Encased within, was a picture of his mother.
Everything else was in abeyance, during this traipse through the park. His blue eyes stared down into the portrait of his mother, seven years now lost. Helen Schaeffer. Had he spent enough time with her, had they had enough conversations? Did she die happy?
The portrait was encompassed by lines of purple and lavender, her favorite colors. She was in color, too. The lightly applied blush on her cheeks, soft. The blue eyes she had passed on to him. The brown curls of her hair.
She had given him everything he could have asked for, and more. The whole time he was trying to figure out his own life and then, before he could rightfully pay her back, she passed. People told him it was alright, that was she was happy just knowing her son was still alive in the world, living his own life.
He supposed it was normal for people, to think kindly, and warmly, of their mothers. But John swore, his was truly the epitome. She would run up to people, stop them in their tracks when they were looking down at their feet, looking sad, looking hurt. She always found a way to make them rethink their troubles. She presented herself with little fear, though he was sure she had just as many as the next person, inside.
He looked up again, his eyes following the tan stone path weaving its way through the verdant landscape. He was approaching something, some kind of social event. He smiled, eyes thinning, the corners of his lips pulling up, the lines his face catching the contagion, multiplying the expression.
It was a birthday party, for a little girl.
There were balloons, all bright. An enourmous
cake laying half intact, and half obliterated, on one of the many picnic tables. Children, dozens he counted, running around.
His knees suddenly felt sore and weak, remembering what it was like to run everywhere when he wishes to move, without even noticing he was running. He wasn’t even thirty years old, but already in the past couple of years he’d picked up on his aging.
Everything the comedians had always joked about, his older relatives, people in movies, teachers. It was coming to embrace him. Tell-tale signs, slowly but surely, harbingers of his own death-to-come all too soon. His back was sore more often than not, his hearing wasnt what it used to be, his eyes…
He found himself stopped, watching the celebration. One of the little girls, wearing a white dress with furls, ran up to him exclaiming that it was her birthday.
At first, he was caught by surprise, not expecting anyone to run him, to speak to him, to involve him in their world. An excited smile lit up the girl’s face.
“It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday!” she exclaimed, laughing afterwards, as if he should come and join in the festivities.
She didn’t turn and run back afterwards, but stayed in front of him just smiling, waiting for him to react, he supposed.
She had light brown hair falling naturally into curls at the ends, and bright blue eyes that demanded interaction.
After a moment he said all he could think of, slipping the pendant back into his pocket.
“Well, happy birthday then! How old are you now?”
“Seven!” she giggled, not needing nearly as long to think of a response as himself.
Not seeming to care that he didn’t have another response yet, she continued for him.
“Why are you sad? It’s my birthday you know? My name’s Helena and I’m seven years old now. What’s your
Johnathon turned his head slightly, looking away. His brows furrowed in perplexity. His heartbeat, maybe, changed slightly for a moment.
“My name is John, John Schaeffer. Nice to meet you, Heleena.”
Her eyes lit up like he had something awe inspiring. She reached up to shake his hand, eager to meet a stranger. Around her wrist was a multitude of bracelets, all various hues of purple. Her cheeks had some rose under them when she smiled.
He went to shake her hand slowly, when a woman called out her name, approaching quickly. He pulled his hand back.
“Helena, come back to the tables sweetheart.” The woman turned the girl around, leading her back the way she came. The woman smiled at Jonathan briefly over her shoulder, but he could see the mistrust in her eyes, if barely for a moment.
He hurried to return to his walking, so as not to look even stranger. His mind raced.
He heard a child yell out the woman’s name behind him.
“Mrs. Schaeffer! Can I have more cake?”
His eyes widened, but he felt like a fool. It was a common enough last name.
A safe distance now, he turned, spotting Heleena easily in her white dress. His fingers, clutched the pendant in his pocket. He pulled it out again, hastily flipping it open. He felt he might accidentally crush the tiny frame, so he loosened his grip, breathing.