Jacky had no idea how long he’d been sitting on the bench. He didn’t remember waking up, getting dressed or if he’d had breakfast. He wasn’t hungry. Dark blustery clouds thickened the sky over the park. The park people wore sweaters and coats, and runners and joggers were bulked up with thermal clothing. Even with just a t-shirt and thin jacket, Jack didn’t feel the cold. He felt nothing. Several people who recognized him from the mall said hello. He looked at them and nodded, half smiling, not meeting their eyes.
He couldn’t get his mind to focus on anything. Krista was gone. It didn’t make any sense. He replayed the thought. Krista was gone. It didn’t make any sense. He stared into the space occupied by the leafless bush across the sidewalk from him. He didn’t see the bush. He didn’t see the barren branches with just a few dried leaves dangling precariously in the chilled breeze. Though he ran his tongue across his lower lip, he wasn’t consciously aware of the lump. He was unaware of his arms and legs. He was barely conscious of being in the park.
His body shook as he stared from the window, out past the park, past the buildings in the distance and the underside of clouds illuminated by the city lights. He was vaguely aware that he might have sat in the park too long, unknowingly freezing on the bench, staring into nothing.
She was so alive. So beautiful. So…
His thoughts swirled like leaves caught in a whirlwind, spinning around and not touching anything. There was no solidity in his surroundings. Images of Krista flashed in this mind. Krista’s hair tumbling over her shoulders. Krista laughing as the talked about nothing in particular. Krista’s moans when they made love. Krista’s questions about his pictures. The picture she’d bought and had framed.
Which one was that? The dandelion? She’d had it framed.
A thought flashed through his mind: he’d never been to her place, never seen the framed picture hanging on her wall. He thought about the sparkle in her eyes when they left the mall to go back to his place or out to dinner.
Her eyes wide with wonder as they reached orgasm together.
A brief flash of another woman. Someone somehow familiar. And gone.
Where did that come from?
He remembered Mrs. Gilbert at his door. She’d looked concerned, sad. He’d said something about being OK, that he was just in a funk and telling her he needed to lay down for a while, his body shaking from exposure to the cold in the park. He couldn’t remember having supper. He wasn’t hungry. It was close to the time. He went to the bedroom, opened his concealed closet, wondering why his closet was concealed, undressed and went to bed.