Of Pidgeons and Candy Bars and The Things You End Up Missing
Every working day, at lunch time, you sit in the park under the statue of the old lady feeding the pigeons to eat your lunch and feed the pigeons.
Every working day, at lunch time, he comes and sits on the bench beside you, and talks about everything that happened in his life between lunch time yesterday and lunch time today.
He first sat beside you two weeks ago. And he told you his name. And you're not sure, but you might've grunted yours back.
Ever since, he's talked and you've ignored him, granting him only the 'hellos' and 'good-byes' you're to polite to deny him. And while he talks, you eat your sandwich and your candy bar, and think of the handsome man from Accounting that never eats his lunch in the park.
Until a more vivid exclamation from your unrecquired companion brings you back to reality. And you wonder why, in two weeks, you haven't left him talking to himself and chosen another place to sit.
You tell yourself you will not allow this over-loquacious character to keep you from sitting on your bench under your statue to feed your pigeons on your lunch time.
And you tell yourself that all he really does is talk, and he keeps away others that might do more than talking. And you think that, if you ignore him long enough, one day he'll go away.
It is Monday, and lunch time. So you're sitting in the park, eating your sandwich and your candy bar. And the pigeons and the bench and the statue are all there, but he's not.
So you wonder if maybe you've ignored him for too long. And you go back to work still feeling somewhat hungry.
When Tuesday-lunch-time comes, he's still not there. And you remember that you did tell him your name.
He said it was a beautiful name, and told you what it meant and in what way it was so brilliantly appropriate for you.
And you thought that this was probably not the kind of thing men were supposed to know. You were certain that the dark-eyed Accounting man wouldn't know what your name meant. It now occurs to you that dark-eyed Accounting wouldn't know what your name is.
By Wednesday, the empty spot next to you on the bench is sourly obvious. You take the candy bar out of your lunch bag. He has told you many times an apple would be much better for you.
You stay in the park just long enough to eat your sandwich and you give the candy bar to some passer-by.
You roam the streets of the business district, and you find out you know where he works. You pretend to be looking at the shop windows, but he's not at work.
And you wonder if he's gone some place else for lunch.
And you buy yourself a candy bar and a book on names.
On Thursday you decide you won't be going to the park at lunch time. But, old habits being hard to break, you find yourself on the bench with the statue and the pigeons.
Soon, a familiar frame eases itself onto the bench next to you. Without waiting for a greeting, he starts telling you all about the horrid business trip he was sent on without previous warning.
And you smile at him, sympathizing with the unfairness of it all. And his eyes widen at the fact that you can smile.
And you stand up to leave, saying, 'See you tomorrow' in that velvet voice you know how to bring out sometimes. And you get a mix of guilt and pleasure from his startled expression.
You do see him on the following day. And you don't even realize that you didn't pause on your way out from work to take a look at Accounting.
And you remain as silent as ever – he speaks enough for both of you – but in the brown paper bag holding your lunch are a sandwich and two apples.