Image by Tamsila Mihai
Sitting on a wooden bench, a pond of blue glimmering in the bright sunlight. Ducks flap their wings, hunting for those breadcrumbs Mrs. Belemy had scattered for them.
The air smells crisp and clean. The sky is a blanket of blue, dotted by white, fluffy clouds. There is a woodpecker on a tree nearby, the silence around punctuated by its constant tek tek tek. The weather is pleasant—not too hot, not too cold. However, a strong gust of wind blow Sarah James’ skirt in the air, much to Nick Patterson’s amusement.
There is green grass, flecked with yellow-orange fallen leaves. Two lovers sit under a tree, their bodies entwined, their lips meeting in soft kisses. At a distance, a family of four set a long pastel sheet on the grass. Johnathon smiles, as his 3-year-old Rickon tugs on his trousers, motioning hims to pull him in his arms. Johnathon obliges, and Rickon gurgles happily.
Ned leans against a bench, a hardbound book in his hand. He adjusts his glasses and flips a page. There is a hint of a smile on his lips. He is reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. He has read the book thrice before. It reminds him of Shelby each time. He pauses for a moment, remembering her red, pouty lips, her pink nipples, those eyes of grey. His pants feel tight all of a sudden. Deftly, he adjusts himself, and continues reading.
Ronald is on the other side of the bench. He takes a sandwich out of his bag and offers you one. It is a robust sandwich—ham, cheese, mayonnaise, and what looks like bits of lettuce. You never really liked mayonnaise. You nod your head no.
There is something about Ronald, but you cannot point out what. There is something wrong. Like a crescendo, it rises in your body, your heart races a little faster. You realise you don’t like Ronald.
Ronald offers you the sandwich again. This time, he pushes it into your hands. This terrifies you, and you want to run away. But you find yourself unable to move. Instead you throw that sandwich into the pond, the ducks immediately flocking towards it. You hear whispers around you.
“She hasn’t eaten in days.”
“What do you think she’s thinking about?”
“I don’t see a way…”
The voices trail away. They aren’t there anymore. Just Ronald, holding the sandwich, nudging it towards your mouth.
You close your eyes tight, clench your fists. A dog barks in the distance.
You open your eyes. It’s gone. Everything’s gone. No ducks, no benches, no lovers, no books. No Ronald. It’s just you. A white room, a glass of water, a half-eaten pill.
And a sandwich.