By Katie Lu
The early Saturday sky sits idle behind the trees of Mulberry Street Park. The clouds are whipped into the blue, and the sun showers its liquid gold down unto the ground. Droplets of morning dew are spider-webbed into the grass, the hours are slow, and the day is still.
It’s in places like Mulberry and days like Saturday where I can throw stones into the pond and watch the rings ripple out. Where there are sweet amaretto coffee shops and leaves that fall like gentle rain.
The girl wades in the shade of the big willow tree. She flings her jump rope over her shoulders and throws her feet. Her shoes catch in the rope and she stumbles a little. She tries again.
She has tender eyes and rosy apple cheeks. Her smiles miss her two front teeth, and her hair is in braids with little yellow ribbons tied around the ends.
I see a woman in the pond, and she’s become hollow from time. Her face is warped, gaunt and sunken. The skin on her cheeks hangs off of her face. Her grey hairs catch the sunlight and she has too many to pluck. I imagine her when she was young—no wrinkles or lines, her face full and bright. With rosy apple cheeks in shining splendor.
I feel sorry for her. I lean closer to the pond, and her face is clearer. She sits on a bench in a park, skips stones and watches the rings ripple out. She loves how time seems to stop.
The woman in the water looks up at me. She blinks as I do, with wrinkles under her quiet eyes. She opens her mouth, maybe to say hello, but she’s caught by her prisoner tongue. Then she is gone, replaced by a stone running across the rippling water.
The girl from the willow tree watches as her stone sails through the lake, and she sends another. We take turns, skipping stones as the waves in the water intertwine into a woven weft, stitching together the lives of the old and the young. And as time goes, as it always has been, stones run across a lake and a woman is young again, grinning with splendor from ear to ear.
A girl and a woman play in Mulberry Street Park, under Saturday skies and liquid gold sun showers. A girl from the willow tree, and a woman from the water.