Saturday, August 15, 2009

At The Lake

The lake was glimmering in the sparkles of a late afternoon sun. An airplane coming out of San Francisco airport soundlessly rose towards the clouds above, the sounds of its engines drowned by the distance and the ceaseless flow of cars that surrounded all sides of the lake like a metallic river of spasms, noise and velocity that came and went endlessly. She parked her car on the small parking lot just on the banks of the lake, only a small path of pine trees and wood chips separated her from the water. Stepping out of the car, she entered the small liquid island of flora in the city of asphalt and endless motion. There was the warm aroma of softly baked pine needles that had dropped and mingled with the wood chips on the ground. A cement bench, donated in loving memory of Rick, was warm from a day in the sun, un-corroded by the elements of wind and rain and heat and fog that was thick and unrelenting in this part of the city. She watched an Asian man approach from the bottom of a small hill in short black running shorts. His hair was short and black and buzzed and reminded her of a military man. He had just finished an intense run around the lake, his shirt was wet, only small patches of light gray insinuated the original color of the dry garment. The length of the shorts struck her, it was not a length most American men were comfortable with, they showed too much thigh. He looked around the lake, his hands on his hips. He watched the other people still running, in lycra and baseball hats and thick sneakers. None of them had yet broken a sweat. He had the look of a relaxed man, a man who had earned his moment of rest and reflection. He saw the girl taking pictures, sometimes he turned his head spontaneously and her black camera lens pointed at him. He would then turn around and look at the water and then turn and watch other runners passing by. There was the camera again. He ducked behind a 15ft high marble statue of a penguin, a thick and modernist interpretation of the animal. He hid from her line of sight. The girl began to walk slowly, peering around the statue to see him only a couple feet off the ground, using the incline of the statue as a place to put his hands while the rest of him went up and down in a series of pushups. His back was perfectly straight, a perfectly executed exercise. She watched his as she walked, wanting a photo but passing by without clicking the button. She had enough for one day.

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