On that warm and windy day, I found myself on the same green bench as usual. My lunch breaks were brief, so I had to make the most of them. The park was only a block from my office. I would take the quick walk down the street, find my bench, and eat quickly.
Usually the park was empty. I’d sit alone and enjoy the silence, a rarity at work. I could easily doze off or, at the least, lose track of time if the weather was just right.
However, this particular day was different. I was seated on the same green bench, sandwich in hand. But there were two boys probably no older than 8 or 9 years old who came wandering into the park looking for something to do.
One boy was taller and fatter than the other boy though his face led me to believe that he was the same age as the small boy. The fat boy walked in front.
There was nothing special about them, so I went back to my lunch. I closed my eyes and listened to the trees blowing around me. Listening to the wind was a welcome escape from the office.
I opened my eyes and noticed that, over the past few minutes, the two boys had moved to the farthest side of the park away from me.
I looked to my left and saw a bird’s nest that had fallen out of one of the oak trees. I set what little was left of my sandwich on the bench and walked over to it. It was in bad shape. The wind and the fall had done a number on the nest.
Beside the nest lie two eggs. I don’t know how, but one was intact. It was covered with some twigs and leaves, but that was the extent of the damage. The other was not so lucky.
The contents of the egg were splattered on the ground. Mucus and membrane mixed in with the dirt. The embryo, mid-development, was curled up and exposed near the base of the tree.
While looking at the tiny creature, I heard a scream from the playground. The fat boy was shoving the smaller boy’s face into the sand. From what the small boy was yelling, it was clear that his eyes were still open and he couldn’t get them closed. I realized I was cringing.
The fat boy pulled the small boy to his feet. Then, he held him by the nape of the neck and marched him around the playground as if to show off his victory. To my knowledge, neither of the boys had noticed that I was there. The fat boy was showing off for no one.
After a moment, in which I stood shocked, I felt my legs start to move towards the boys. Just then, I saw a man walking toward the playground. He was a barrel of a man with a handlebar mustache and a black t-shirt that read “SEX DRUGS ROCK ‘N ROLL.”
I noticed that the fat boy saw the man before the man saw him. He turned to the small boy and got right into his face. I was too far away. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but, whatever it was, it caused the small boy to wipe off his face and frantically try to get the sand out of his eyes.
To my knowledge, the man hadn’t seen any of the altercation, but he still seemed to be walking towards the fat boy with a purpose.
As if out of habit, the fat boy cowered as the man’s arm rose into the air. The man walked up and immediately slapped his hand on the back of his neck. The man led the fat boy off of the playground by the nape of his neck.
The small boy followed them at a car’s length, still trying desperately to get the sand out of his eyes.
When the small boy was out of sight, I stood in silence. I listened to the wind until there was a slight break in the sound. Then, I turned my attention to the eggs once again. I wondered what I should do with the remaining one – whether I should take it out of its environment and try to save it or whether I should let it lie.