Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Spotted: Central Park

A couple still discovering each other’s birthmarks and bad habits, sprawled over a plaid picnic mat dotted with breadcrumbs and chocolate stains. She smells of vanilla, he sprayed extra deodorant.

Fathers sprinting after their son’s baseballs, legs buckling and breath panting but smile static, constant, a homerun.

Fresh paint licking a canvas, the painter’s cheeks as textured as his picture, wrinkles sculpted into his skin.

A mutual smile between a dog and its owner, faces alike like they often become between those who live together.

Sweat droplets and the thick smell of sun cream. Shirtless men absorbing afternoon rays, proud of their sagging skin and beer-bellies.

Wafts of fried onions, plump white buns and sausages that sizzle.
“Ketchup or mustard?”

Breakups, private tears becoming public.

Scratched knees and bruised elbows, unstable kids on roller-skates, learning the art of balance.
“I won’t let go.”
They always let go.

Yoga poses, limbs bent and held in ways that seem unnatural. People, young and old, learning from each other.  

Coins sinking to the bottom of fountains, heavy with the weight of their wishes.

First kisses, slow and awkward. Tiptoes and sore necks, unsure where best to place palms.

The sharp crunch of leaves beneath tyres as bikes zig-zag through morning jogs and afternoon strolls.

Bare branches and white ice, rink dotted with couples and parents whose children remembered their promises. Cameras flash, memories captured, left to linger on mantelpieces and beneath fridge magnets.

Snippets of conversations condensing through frost-filled air, Chinese words wafting between Russian, Spanish, Arabic.

The rumbles of the surrounding city, millions of lives co-existing, sharing streets and sidewalks, injecting their own “new” into New York.

Horses clicking and clacking over pavements they know by memory, their hooves tattooed onto the cement.

Men in ironed suits, some with paper cups of black coffee, others with a cigarette hanging from their lips. One eye checks their watch, the other refreshes their email.

Coins being pulled out of the bottoms of fountains: children craving an extra penny out of greed, the homeless out of need.

Guitar strums and raspy voices, pencil sketches and notebook scribbles, self-taught jugglers and toned tap dancers. Doers and dreamers.

Another new couple, fingertips tickling each other’s cheeks, smiles crooked like the park’s daffodils, just beginning to bloom.