People Watching

For one sunlit hour, one white-skied November day, let me wait in dappled shade beneath the last golden boughs of Autumn, to watch the coming and going of passersby. Some walk too fast, but never too slow, for the world revolves around the concept of schedules, but who truly controls time? A woman runs to catch a bus, late to work perhaps, but who deemed eight o’clock to be the start of a workday? Who deemed this to be eight o’clock at all? Today I shall be free, free to fly upon my feet, away from this crowded city, free to walk beneath the lonely aspen trees, who have beckoned me to visit them for too long. I will be free to trace the patterns of morning frost on windows reflecting empty space: mirrors into which I gaze to see a stranger’s eyes looking back at me. And to trace the frost upon these windows is to trace a path of memories, to remember those who used to watch over me, who I now watch over from afar. To be reminded of these people is to realize I am not free after all, that time is an eternal law that I too must obey. For even from afar, I see that dinner is waiting, so with my last breath of freedom, I step towards time and walk back hand in hand.

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