I’m a writer type, and so sometimes I go and sit in a park, even when I have homework, and I get out my notebook and pencil and I sit on the ground- even though there are benches nearby, I sit on the ground. Once a woman came and tried to take a picture of me. Probably because she thinks I’m one of those weird writer types who go to college and do silly things like go barefoot and sit on the ground and care about where their beef comes from. But I am not that type of writer, even though she may think I am.
I like seeing the kinds of people who come to parks. For example, there is one old man who often sits in the park, and he is a grouchy old man who only leaves his house once a day to sit in the park and stare at the pigeons who peck around, but he doesn’t feed them because he’s a grouch. I call him George because I don’t know his name. And I wonder about this man named George, and how maybe once upon a time George had a pretty little wife, who liked to wear funny hats and bright red shoes, who had crazy hair that stuck out every which way, and loved gardening but hated cooking. Her name is Lucy. I call her that because it’s a name that a lot of older people have, but it still sounds young and happy. Like Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia. Anyway, Lucy loved birds. And she would watch them, and make bird feeders for them, and George and Lucy always had birds singing around their house. And Lucy whistled, and could do all kinds of bird calls, and George would always love to come home from work to hear her whistling and watering flowers in the back yard.
Somehow, Lucy died. I don’t like to think about how that happened, because it’s the saddest thing that ever happened to George. And now, he is old, and sad, and he goes every day to sit in the park and stare at the pigeons, because they remind him of Lucy, who isn’t there to make the bird feeders and call to the sparrows in his backyard. But every day, George comes to the park to sit, and watch them, and think about this enigma… this magical way that Lucy was friends with the birds, and how he could never do that, but he loved it so much about her.
I don’t know that. It’s probably not true. George’s real name is probably Harold, and his wife’s name was probably really Regina. And they might not have had a happy marriage, and probably she had nothing to do with birds or whistling. But I like to think that. I’d like to believe that when George comes to the park, he has something nice to think about. Something that gives him hope. Like the fact that no matter what, the pigeons will always be there to remind him of his beautiful wife who loved birds, and that when he sits in the park and hears the sparrows in the trees, he thinks of Lucy and her whistling, and loves her all the more, even though she’s gone. I’d like to think that once, George was very happy, and though he is now alone, he still has something in life to hold to, a little feather of hope that he clings to, every time he comes to sit in the park.
One of these days, I will talk to George. I will find out his real name, and about his real life, and why he really comes to sit in the park every day. I will ask him about his Lucy, and why he watches the birds but doesn’t feed them. And I will ask him about his hope- why every morning he gets out into the crazy world, and sits on a park bench to appreciate pigeons. Because I think a lot of people are like George. They need something constant to cling to. And if that’s a pigeon feather on a cloudy day, so be it. God made those pigeons, and their feathers, and I think he made them for George.