Sitting in a garden alcove of Bryant Park, near the corner of 6th and 42nd, Alex couldn’t decide if he wanted to read or write once he commandeered a chair. Eventually, after a lengthy internal debate, reading won in hopes of rejuvenating his overworked brain.
After a few pages, Alex looked up from his book at the sound of a little girl’s giggle. A few feet away from him, a father stood over his daughter, having procured her and her identical doll a single coveted chair to share. Alex paused reading a moment to watch them, guessing the little girl with the long Elsa-esque blonde braid was four or five. Like himself, they were enjoying the unusually warm winter day with its sun and gentle breeze. Watching the father feed her a snack and lovingly smooth wisps of her hair, it struck Alex that Danny never had any moments like that with Mollie and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. Thankfully, the sound of a taxi’s angry horn, jarred him back to reality and he tried to return his focus to his book.
“Seventy degrees in February?” a figure above him said blocking the sun for a moment and startling him from his reading. He squinted up to find Marina standing over him. “Figured I’d find you here,” she commented with a shrug, glancing around for an empty chair to join him.
“Me and half of Manhattan,” he mused. “It’s like seventy degrees on a Friday. Everyone is either here soaking up the rays on their lunch or blowing off the rest of the afternoon. It took me almost twenty minutes to find a seat.”
“Your diligence paid off I see.”
“I was determined. Although I’ve been considering heading up to Central, might have the illusion of being less crowded there.”
“Doubt it. I know this was always your favorite place to write.”
“Mollie loves coming here to skate or read depending on the season. Too warm for ice skating.”
“If it could be like this year round, I’d be a very happy man. Sadly, it’ll be over by this time tomorrow… at least for a few more weeks.” He glanced around as the smell of someone’s lunch reached him. “Whole foods must be making today. I’ve lost count of the number of bags I’ve seen go by.”
Marina smiled tightly, grabbing a recently vacated chair and setting across from Alex’s.
“So, why were you seeking me out?” He tucked his bookmark in his book.
“I know I…” she frowned, trying to find the right words. “I…