‘How to Understand Life in a Park’ by Kelsey Nichole Brooks

Fiction, Short Stories

I am an old woman now. You would know my age by counting the number of wrinkles around my lips and around my eyes like you would with an old tree after it has been chopped down. A tree that has earned its battle scars by fighting in each season of its life. It reigns as its rings fill with thick golden sap. We are like the trees in many ways. Perhaps this is why I sit in the park. To watch the trees. To watch us. Watch life.

We all start out in spring. Across the field, I see a young girl playing in the tulips. Pollen sticking to her fingertips, making them dusty yellow like crusted mustard on a cap. She presses her fingers into other tulips, not knowing what she was doing to them. She parts their petals back letting the style and anthers of the tulips pistil curl in pleasure. She didn’t know. A young boy about the same age walks down the other side of the walkway, biting into a pear, the snap of the light green flesh, sweet syrup running down his lips. He doesn’t know what he is doing either. We never do. I remember what a lover of mine once said to me: “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” We didn’t know then either. No one really knows what spring does to us, but this is where it all begins.

Like the trees we gained more rings, and found ourselves at the park.

Summer is the season when our skin tastes of salt and sin. I have always said that in summer, God has mercy on his people the most. The wind blows a little more to help us breathe easier. The sun roasts our skin into shades of toasty browns and poreless pinks. In summer, everything is loose, words and bodies. This is when the boy and the girl first meet. The girl sits in the grassy field pretending to read Little Women, but she is not interested in literature. She is watching the boy play with his dog. The boy catches the girl staring at him. Her cheeks turn a pastel pink as if a clumsy painter spilled droplets of red paint on a cream-coloured canvas and tried whipping it away, leaving only a smudge as if it were not a mistake made after all. They too became loose.

Like the trees we gained more rings, and found ourselves at the park.

Everything changes in the fall. Unsurprisingly, the leaves are what everyone longs to see change the most. The leaves swell up into brilliant reds, rusty oranges, coppers and golds. The young man watches the young woman climb the tree. She wants to be the first of them all to see the change. He watches her carefully, every grip, pull and grab. Her eyes grow brighter. His blood grows warmer. The branch snaps beneath her and she tumbles to the earth below in tears. He lifts her up, brushes some of the red and orange leaves from her hips and kisses her.

Like the trees we gained more rings, and found ourselves at the park.

Winter is when we must say goodbye as everything around us begins to die. Even love dies during winter. People make love…only to stay warm in the winter’s cold. I look around the park, where there is nothing left. I have heard that the young man, now twenty-four years old, has gone off to fight in the war. He won’t be back till next year. Everything seems to stay still in winter, as if the cold magically froze everything but time itself. Even then it seemed as though time lingers within empty spaces, lost in the unknown trying to find its way back as to somehow allow the seconds of what is left of life to tick by once again. The snow frosted over the grass and the ice glazed over the small beetles that used to bundle in it. My visits at the park are never long during the winter. To my surprise, the young woman still comes to the park. She walks the same path she once shared with her lover. Today she feeds the pigeons stale bread crumbs of last night’s dinner. She sometimes stares at the sky –– at heaven –– wondering if her lover made it up there last night. Eventually, she finds herself sitting on the bench beside me. Could she see what I saw? After all these years, did she understand now? Did she know what had to be seen in the park? She doesn’t say anything. She only watches the wind tease the leafless branches of the trees. Their grey bones clapping against each other, without their flesh. She places her hand over her belly, and closes her eyes as I assume she has done once before. There is beauty within her. She smiles, looking at the trees again, waiting for any signs of the buds. Yes…She knows…She knows that spring will come again.

Like the trees we gained more rings, and found ourselves at the park.

A plump baby plays in the soft dirt while the man and woman hold each other on the bench.

It is spring again.

A tree has been chopped down.

They gained some new rings. They found themselves at the park.


KELSEY NICHOLE BROOKS is just a writer. An individual who found herself through pen ink and countless sheets of writing paper. If its a biography you came for then you will have to continue to read her stories as they will tell you all you need to know about her. She is simply a writer.

Copyright © 2018 by Kelsey Nichole Brooks. All rights reserved.

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