I left the burning heat and felt the blast of cold air as I passed through the sliding glass doors of the 7/11. A chime sounded to alert the bored looking cashier of my entrance, though she seemed not to notice. I’d imagine if I heard it all day, 5 days a week, I’d tune it out too. I walked through the shelves of purchasable items, glancing at the snacks wondering if I should get some. I found the cooler in the back doing its job in mechanical efficiency with only a hum to remind me that it was on. I studied the numerous beers, checking price against my taste, double checking it with what I knew of hers. I opened the door and took out a six pack of Japanese beer. It was a beautiful dusk and I wanted something special. It was on sale too and I think it was her second favorite from that fair archipelago.
I grabbed a pack of spicy seaweed sheets on my way to the counter and forked over the amount requested rounded up. I was given my change in pictures of the recently dead king and I headed back for the door. I again felt the temperature change as I left the store. I wandered out into the recently converted pedestrian street which was full of people and planted with juvenile trees. It had the feeling of a place that will be great when those trees grow and bloom, but today feels a bit too new. The problem, though, is that trees run on their own timescale, at it’s longer than ours. I paused wistfully and wondered amongst the purples and golds of the fading evening’s sky if I’ll get to see this street in all its glory. I shrugged to no one and headed down towards the park in hope that I do.
I crossed into the park which was built to commemorate a centenary and won awards for it’s contemporary design. It was beautiful and felt like an oasis in the sweaty, heaving city. It was full of people relaxing, almost as if exhaling for the first time all day as the heat broke. The sun now was racing towards the horizon and shadows were long enough for smiles to return, sweat to thin out, and for mosquitos to begin their evening rush hour.
I wandered in no particular hurry, the climax of the sunset was still a while off and she was with friends. I would be missed, though not in a major way. I’m sure the cargo of beer and snacks that were hurting my hands with their cold were far more important, and it was their arrival that was anticipated.
I found the group lounging amongst some trees, on a spot picked to watch the fiery gas ball drop behind the skyscrapers and buildings. I was met with smiles all around, the largest of which was hers. I, with much difficulty, opened the plastic packaging around the condensation covered beers and distributed them. Tabs were cracked and cheers toasted. Her gaze, though, I held a moment longer and realized that no beer had refreshed me as her eyes, and no sunset had ever held even half the beauty of her countenance.
Now it was my turn to smile, contented, as I joined them on the spot to watch the sun continues its march, enjoying this moment, fleeting and beautiful.