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Being the Way That I Am

Being the Way that I Am

(from Within My Illusions)

I was sitting on a bench by the river,

enjoying a quiet moment between tasks

and some time to myself.

I was practicing a new way of seeing,

relaxing my eyes until the ground appeared to pulse

like a heartbeat.

I was writing this poem in my head

when a man called out to me.

“Don’t be so weary,” he said.

“I’m not weary,” I replied,

“Just thinking.”

He was sitting on top of a picnic table,

looking out at the water

and also at me.

He was wearing a New York Mets cap

and I commented, “I’m going to New York

and you’re wearing a New York hat.”

“You want my hat?” he asked.

“No,” I said, “I’m going to New York

and you’re wearing a New York hat

and I just noticed that

and I wanted to say something about it.”

He smiled a gold, toothy smile.

“My mom is from New York,

but I’ve never been.”

“It’s a different place,” I told him.

“My mom is from Brooklyn,” he said.

“I’m going to see my sister.

She lives in Brooklyn too.”

But perhaps a different Brooklyn.

I looked beyond him to the street,

to where my car was parked

in front of a city office building

where I’d spent time in a meeting earlier.

“Enjoy the springtime,” I said and headed

up the small hill toward the road.

“Hey, when are you leaving?”

he called out to me.

“Right now,” I said. “I’m going right now.”

“Have a good flight.”

I started to walk away when

I had the urge to turn back and say,

“Thank you for talking to me.”

“You’re welcome,” he said with a wave,

and then turned back to the river

where my gaze followed

to take in the shape of this new friend,

sitting on top of a picnic table

with his back to me,

looking out onto the water

the way I often do,

appreciating the ebb and flow,

stillness and movement,

the gift of conversation,

and the thought,

"Perhaps I am weary.”

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