Foolish Hope

Left. Right. Left. Right.

Steps lead down the sidewalk without thought or intention.

Left. Right. Left. Right.

Sunshine is beating down, pushing away memories of the recent rains. A breeze whips among the trees, scattering petals and leaves onto the street. A mix of scents fills the neighborhood and tangles amid the sounds of kids playing in yards nearby. There is a jumble of noise that mixes into a mess of sound that drowns out the footsteps to where I do not want to go.

You did not promise to be there, you didn’t even hint about it. Just because you were free did not mean that you were making any time for me. But I still had to check.

Strong steps went past the first entrance. I was out for my own purpose, an inner voice declared, not to see if you were at our spot. This was my walk in the sunshine, it had nothing to do with you.

The next street was another entrance.

Left. Right. Left. Right.

My feet turned down the side street before I was aware of it. Walking where the sidewalk and lawns met, I stalled the inevitable by walking the farthest edge of the farthest path. Pausing at each flower, as though they mattered, one block took forever and no time to cross.

Stepping past the sign, eyes scanned over the park. It was empty, as it always is. Less than a block in size, with no toys to climb or tables to gather around. Instead just a small loop and four benches. Now that I’m here, I have to walk past them all.

Sleepwalking through the loop, with a moment’s delay at each empty bench. Small stones are kicked farther down the path; a stick is brushed off to the side. Every shaded corner is empty. A coat is draped across the back of one bench. Left behind by someone who felt the afternoon warmth and forgot their morning protection.

Left. Right. Left. Right.

I wipe away a tear before leaving. It must have been from an allergy because why cry over someone who wasn’t there, and who hadn’t said they would be. They should have been, but they never said a word.

Confident strides return to the original route, the original plan. Those wayward steps won’t be counted in the mileage for the day. Just because the diversion had to be made, because I had to look, doesn’t mean you have to know about it. You weren’t there anyways. I had hoped that you would be. But that was just a foolish hope. I need to learn to put my hope in someone else now.

Right?

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