The leaves did not make a sound upon falling, but the way they were piling up over the thin layer of water made it look like a rainy afternoon. Despite the absence of raindrops, the rain would always make him melancholic. Resisting the sadness that threatened to overcome him, he quickened his steps and went into a bar, asking the waiter to hurry. That was it. Noticing the questioning look hovering above the bow tie, he realized the lack of precision in his order. He laughed and corrected himself: Vodka.

It hadn’t been three minutes since the last time he checked his smartphone to see if there was any mail, but he repeated the automatic action again. There was only an ad in his inbox about garden supplies on sale. Lately, he just didn’t have the spirits to work on the garden or anything like it. He returned the cell phone to the pocket and corrected his unnecessary haste as well. He sat at a table that was the closest to a stand with newspapers and magazines and noticed that there were some books available to customers. He thought the initiative to be interesting, even though he wondered whether alcohol would mix well with the written pages.

He drank it all up at once and paid for his drink. Before leaving, he checked the books that were arranged on the small bookcase near the window. The weather was unstable on the other side of the glass.

Taking a stroll without deciding on a goal or precise path seemed like a good way to fill in that planless time. The streets were crowded and the park was sprinkled with colors: An euphoric girl eating a popsicle, laughter, street vendors selling different kinds of trinkets. His shirt was sticking to the skin in no time. He envied the easy-going fellows that had the audacity to tie their shirts around their heads and enjoy the heat while sipping something cold. In his case, allowing himself a few moments of inactivity under a willow tree by the side of the lake, enveloped by the faint green tone he knew so well from his childhood, was eccentric enough.

The setting was an invitation to start reading. Among the books available―Harlequin novels, philosophy, Cervantes, Drummond―he selected an old edition of The Autumn of The Patriarch as company. At the edge of the park, there were some spots on the grass under the shade that were far away enough from the agitated children and dogs. There he found some comfortable seats and got close to silence. Still, the movement of restless people under the sun in all its exuberance was incessant.

He went through quite a few pages, but the narrative tone conflicted with the temperature that surrounded him, like a creeper sprightly growing during the raining season.

His will to read wasn’t strong enough, so he was content to just sit and watch life before his eyes. Still, he didn’t let go of his hardcover book―an impeccable edition. He recalled the careful handwriting he used to sign the books he received as a gift from the time he was a child. Back to the house where he grew up, settled on the porch, he enjoyed the quietness of not having to give orders or complete any tasks. The mild temperature he found there made him understand that his actions were unnecessary, whether at work or in maintaining his little eccentricities―the way he folded his shirts or organized his books on the bookshelf.

Sitting back at the old chair, he closed his eyes to enjoy his recent discoveries. The book fell to the ground and woke him up, but it didn’t make his smile fade upon remembering the dream he was having: He was a boy and enjoyed a multi-color swirl lollipop while his mother watered the garden where the lilies started to bloom.

Give a title and share this story