It's deceptively bright today. I had set out wearing just a light jacket; you'd think I would have known better. Still, the brightness makes up for the lack of feeling in my fingers. On other days the park has been sour and depressed, the tower slides looking like the ancient ruins of an older, more playful civilisation. A park is a disappointed playground, Joyce might have said. Today it looks a lot happier. I make my way past the swings and see-saws, shining yellow and red in the sun. Two children dangle from the monkey bars. Just beyond them a group of eager boys take turns trying to dunk a basketball. A frisbee hovers over the grass for a few moments before touching down.
On the lake, ducks clamour for the breadcrumbs that an old woman lobs at them. Sunshine glints off their beaks. A little girl squeals in delight, asks her mother whether she can have a go. I remember the ducks we used to have in the park near our home. One of them got slightly carried away on one occasion and had picked off, along with the slice of bread on offer, a sizeable chunk of a child's hand. They were all gone the next day, we never found out where.
scurrying to safety
I retreat, defeated
The shadows lengthen. In an hour the curtain will come down on another day. The old woman tosses the last of the crumbs into the lake, heads home while she still can. The streetlights come on, burning orange at first, like the setting sun. I dust my pants and watch it disappear. Overhead, a plane unzips the sky.
string of fairy lights
in a window