Hell—

A short story attempt

There he is, sitting on the park bench reading a newspaper.  I pass him every day on my way to work.  Most people in my office drive to work each day but I prefer the 45 minute walk through town.  It would only take me 30 minutes if I didn’t go through the park.  I can’t resist the sound of the birds chirping, the crunch of the leaves in the fall, and watching the flowers bloom in the spring.  It makes me work day just a bit more bearable.  And this guy.  He makes my day bearable.  Every morning I tell myself this will be the day you say good morning.  Simple enough.  Good morning.  You can even nod your head.  Or just say it is as you walk by with minimal eye contact.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s the initial reach out that counts; the first words; the beginning contact.  It will turn into a lasting relationship.  One that starts slowly of course.  A good morning here, a hi how are you there, and maybe, if I’m lucky, a smile.  So this morning I set out with a mission.  Today is the day! I shout in my head.  I walk with a little extra pep in my step as I hop down my front steps.  I practice by saying hello to everyone I meet along the way.  Hello surly drunk that sips his hangover coffee on the stoop!  Hello flower delivery guy who listens to his music so loud I can hear his headphones!  Hello beautiful woman that I wish I looked like!  Hello baker, how I hate your tempting sweets!  I bounce into the park ready to make my move.  I approach him.  There he is as always.  I’m 20 feet away.  10 feet.  5 feet.  “Hell—.”  I choke on the last syllable.  He looks up.  Oh no.  All I got out was hell.  What do I do now?  How do I fix this?  Crap.  Shit.  I walk away quickly.  Tomorrow, tomorrow will be the day.

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