A short story I wrote to start your week – click through at the end to read the rest – download as a PDF file. Enjoy and happy Monday.
by Andre Gensburger
She sat demure, blond hair straight down, mid back length, smooth legs outstretched. Daniel didn't have a name for her yet, was almost ready to settle on Karen-she looked like a Karen, pale skin, soft features, eyes made up to stand out, foundation hiding freckles, white and tight T-shirt, revealing curves. There was no doubt she was pretty, Daniel thought and he had seen her every day for the two weeks he'd been coming to the skate park, watching from the air-conditioned comfort of his car parked few feet away by the chain link that separated the skate park from dirt parking area.
Karen had seen him, had gotten in the habit of looking his way every quarter hour or so, making eye contact for a second before looking elsewhere. She was seated on the grass in the shade thrown down by the pylons and concrete tracks of the BART system, oblivious to the trains scraping past, the sound blending with the grinding of skate board lips onto metallic wrapping on concrete walls and steps.
Karen had two boys, Jason and Sam, real names he had heard when Karen had called to them. Both boys about 12 years old and Karen barely 30-she had lost her virginity young and lost the father moments after the pregnancy test glowed pink. There was no dad, no wedding ring, and she had the look of someone who had given up expecting a man to take her from the difficulty of single parenthood.
“You will not," Karen said loudly. Jason and Sam were laughing. Daniel couldn't determine why, but from his car he smiled along with them-their tone was infectious. As if on cue she looked his way but only in passing.
The skate park was relatively new, a good edition for Concord, a generally drab city in need of creative outlets for youths. The designers had done well, a series of bowls, half pipes, and steps with walls to keep all level of skaters happy. The grassy area allowed a reprieve from the extreme California sun.
“I wouldn't let my boxers hang out like that," Jason teased. He was the more sensible of the two boys, slightly older, tall, almost six-foot, lanky and gawky, yet with a certain grace to his movements when he skated. In a single movement he lunged forward dropping his board into a roll and casually stepping onto it, body leaning forward ever so slightly, arms by his side, palms facing back.
At the other end of the park his friends were taking a break, lined up in order like sparrows on a telephone line or mosquito shaped Harriet Jump jets stretched on the deck of an aircraft carrier waiting for the attack command.
Jason did a spin and landed on his ass, pants dropping, and underwear showing. He pulled them up, accepted a few high-fives for the attempt and assumed this place on deck. Friends didn't need words.
“Mom, come skate with me," Sam shouted. Karen smiled, shook her head then looked at Daniel who pretended not to have noticed. He envied her, enjoyed their visits. Sam reminded him of Alex, his own son. Such regrets are not correctable, Daniel reminded himself. All he could do was hold the memory.
Karen had accepted him as a fixture in her day, in a way beyond words. He had thought about getting out of the car and actually talking to her, but he knew that he might never return if he did, would learn that she was not as he had imagined, and worse, that she might not have been so accepting of him, after all, a man, alone, parked in a car at a kids’ skate park is definitive cause for concern. Of course it was all open for interpretation as he had no way to know for sure short of actually asking her what she thought.
It was only when a skateboard sailed across the chain link fence and smashed into his hood, indenting before falling to the floor that the decision was made for him…
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