Phantom in the Park

Hello coffee lovers and avid readers! Welcome to Olive’s Library at Olive’s Café, where you can read the stories of adventurous characters as they explore life.
Here’s a story of a man in his inner thoughts:

The birds chirping. The sun exposed. The grass and trees smell fresh like water. Speaking of which, the pond is populated with lily pads and ducks. I look around, and people are walking, smiling, and talking. Talking. Lots of talking. I’m not big on talking.
Observing. That’s my thing. No cellphone, no book, nothing with me. No distractions.
I don’t know, I just like looking.
Usually I get dirty looks from people when I stare too long. I almost got my ass kicked when I stared and smiled like a creep. Creep. Am I a creep? I just like looking. What’s wrong with looking? Sigh I don’t go to many places. Dirty looks and foolish threats. Why?
I just like looking.
A young boy sits next to me, holding his ice cream. Ice cream. Just looking at it makes me cold, but now I can’t help but crave it. I stare at the ice cream. Should I get myself ice cream? It’s just down the street. Yet, I don’t want to lose my spot. I sit here every day in the afternoon, right between writing my journal, and brunch. I sit here every day in the afterno-
“Mister, would like some of my ice cream?” The little boy interrupts my thoughts. I blink once. Then again. I think I stared too long. I shake my head to the boy as I answer, “No. Thank you. I will get it later.” The boy shrugs and continues to eat his ice cream. I look back at the park. All of a sudden…
“Hey Nemo, let’s go. Grandma’s waiting for us,” A woman walks up to the boy next to me. I look at her. All I see is this angelic glow around her. It could be the sun. It could be her.
Sigh I just like looking. Now, I like looking at her.
As I continue to look at her, the woman looks at me. Her smile fades, her eyes glosses. Then, slowly, her smile comes back. “I’m so sorry, sir, I hope my son didn’t disturb you.” I continue to look at her. I blink once. Then again, before I answer, “It’s no issue. He’s been kind to offer me ice cream.”
Wow, I’ve never spoke this much to anyone. I look at her, and she continues to smile at me. “Well, I made sure this young one is kind. Isn’t that right, Nemo?” Nemo. Sounds adventurous.
Not me.
I just like looking.
The boy nods and gets off the bench. The woman grabs his little hands, and before they walk away, the woman says, “Take care, sir.”
They walk away.
I stare at them. Just stare.
Then, I wave. Whoa, a first! I never wave at anyone. Usually, people wave me off or curse at me. For looking.
I don’t know, I just like looking.
I look at the pond. The ducks are swimming. The wind is blowing, leaves moving. And I’m just looking.
Then, I wonder. Will I ever see Nemo, and that woman again? I hope so.
Maybe, I have something to look forward to tomorrow. I’m hungry. Looking makes me hungry. I feel like a sandwich. Time to go to the café down the street…
The Next Day
I walk in the park after tea and biscuits. Small breakfast. I don’t have time to eat breakfast. It’s time for the park. I look at my favorite bench. I see them. Nemo and the angel.
I smile.
That’s a first… I walk to my bench. I sit next to them. The angel turns, looks, and smiles at me.
My eyes wide.
OH! Shiny white teeth.
“Hi there! Nice to see you again,” The angel speaks.
I jitter.
I get goosebumps. She’s so pretty. I blink once. Then again. Next, I say, “Hi. Nice to see you again, as well.” I look down at my hands.
I have nothing in my hands.
I look up. The sky is clear. The sun exposed again. I look the pond. No ducks. The trees and grass are green and smell fresh like water.
This time, I smile. I appreciate the smell.
I look at the angel. She smiles as she asks, “Do you like the park a lot?” I nod. I just like looking. Should I tell her that? I respond, “I feel at peace. Every day.” She nods, understanding my statement.
We continue to sit at my favorite bench. I don’t let anyone else sit with me, or even without me.
I just like to sit here and look.
But, Nemo and the angel? They’re an exception. They’re kind to me. They didn’t give me dirty looks. They didn’t run. They didn’t slap me. This is new to me. New. Speaking of which…
“How long have you lived here?” I ask her. She smiles as she says, “I lived here for 2 weeks now. I live with my mother and son.” Then, I wonder…. Where’s the boy’s father? “I don’t mean to be in your business, but what about-“
“Nemo’s father? He passed away in a car accident last year,” she answered for me. The angel turns to Nemo and says, “Nemo, you remember the nice man from yesterday, right?” Nemo looks at me and smiles as he nods. I look at him and smile. “Hi, Mister,” Nemo greets me. I wave and say hi back. Then, Nemo tilts his head in curiosity.
Does he like looking too? Or is there something in my face?
He opens his mouth, and then asks me, “What’s your name?”
What’s my name? I hate my name.
So introverted. Annoying. Nonsense. Makes me feel like a ghost. A silent one. All because I just like looking. But, let me entertain the boy.
“Phantom,” I say.
The angel looks at me in shock. She’s starting to question my name.
Then, she gives me a suspicious look. “Really? Is that your real name? Or do people just call you that?” she asks. I shake my head. “No, my mother called me that when I was born.” The angel crosses her arms and sits back as she crosses her legs. Nemo is looking at me too.
I confirm to her, “It’s my real name. She thought it suits me. When I was in womb, I wouldn’t move so much. At least that’s what she told me. Growing up, I didn’t like doing a lot. I was just there…”
She frowns.
She squints her eyes.
“Strange,” she states.
I laugh.
I shrug. “Well, after getting older, I didn’t mind. I still don’t.” Finally, she nods.
“Well, my name is Angel,” she says.
Angel… That name fits her. The shiny glow, the kindness in her town. She truly is Angel. I smile. I look at her. I just like looking…at her.
“Angel. It’s a beautiful name for someone who is one,” I claim.
She blushes. How cute. Cute. Me? Not so much. I just sit at the park and look.
I just like looking.
“Well, Phantom, it’s a cool name to us. Right, Nemo?” Angel asks. Nemo nods in excitement. Angel and I laugh. I liked looking. Now, I like laughing more. I feel happy, and welcome. No more feeling lonely. No more staring.
Angel, thank you for our beginning…
The Following Day
I sit at the park.
I stare at the pond. Tears falling. The clouds block the sun.
It’s dark in the afternoon.
I’m alone in the dark.
Crying. I look down at my hand.
A letter left for me. It has my name on it. I found it on the bench when I came to the park. I opened it.
Angel and Nemo are gone. Forever. Angel and her family are moving.
Just when I thought I had a friend.
This is depressing. Why do I bother coming to the park?
The park. I get peace from the park just from looking.
I used to like looking.
Now, I don’t like to look anymore. My new friend. Gone. From my life. It feels like I didn’t exist to begin with. All because I just like looking.
Speaking of which. I look at the note again.
She left me her number. My tears stop falling.
My day brightens up under the clouds.
I smile. Angel left me her number. Under her number: Let’s keep in touch I look at the note. Her handwriting is beautiful.
I just like looking at the note.
I will call her when I get home.
I smile once more.
Maybe, my name does fit me.

Please comment on your experience with Phantom. Have you ever went somewhere so peaceful, you would have conversations with your inner thoughts.

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