Walter locked that Sunday inside the apartment and left it there, amid the mugginess coming from the wall that had been exposed to the sun all day long. He joined cyclists at the park, weaving through stands selling popcorn and sugar cane juice. He wandered while paying attention to conversations from people under the shade of trees, sprawled on the grass, trying to find shelter from the sun, and begging for rain to come down pouring soon to cool things down and allow a good night of sleep. A boy wearing a dirty pair of shorts watched out for the cop as he dove into the fountain at the park. He wasn’t being naughty―that dive was out of necessity. The place was swarming with activity: old LPs, magazines that brought out old times, books of every style, china pieces stray from the set to which they once belonged. He thought about going through the boxes of books to find company or an escape for the afternoon, but the lazy heat urged him to look for a shade and tune out the thoughts that afflicted his mind―and that’s what he did.
Walking aimlessly was a good way to spend some idle time, he thought, taking a book under his arm. He tried the path made of hard-packed dirt between the seedbeds, collecting dust on his shoes. From afar, he saw children who didn’t mind the dirt stuck to their skin and didn’t even seem to miss the TV or videogames.
Someone seemed to have waved at him from a distance, but it could just be his imagination. Still, he waved back and kept following the winding path, letting the warm wind carry him through a light course, like the movement of the swing he had on the balcony of the house where he grew up. He felt an urge to go back there for good.
Before undertaking the walk back home, he tried to make himself comfortable on the grass near the old bandstand. The shade welcomed him and the yellowed pages offered themselves to him.
He abandoned the book as if to repeat the gesture he had made when he left home with nothing but a backpack, without saying anything to his parents, leaving only a quiet kiss on his grandmother’s cheek when she could no longer see the difference between a boy leaving for school and an everlasting, heavy with sorrow good-bye that would take time to heal. Walking down the sidewalk that would take him to his refuge, he thought back on the cover of the book he didn’t read. That image was a photograph he wish he had taken himself. He walked and focused on the sensations that the wind was spreading through the street, determined to look for his camera and take the streets again to find a suitable frame to capture all the melancholy that the city had awoken in him. At the margins of his path, the few leaves left on the tree whose name he did not know continued to fall from the branches, being swept in the same direction that his feet were taking him.
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