She noticed him the first time walking next to the small creek that split the park into two halves. He was walking on the side that held mostly bushes, a few trees, and some marshy low lying areas. Most people preferred the other side. The side she was on. Where the ground sloped up away from the creek to sort of unfurl into a wide scope of short green grass, more kin to a Golf Green than a heavily used metropolitan Park.
His head and shoulders were bowed by melancholy. That is the only mood that can bend a body into exhaustion while still standing. If sad had a human form, it was the posture of that poor man. She crossed the bridge over to his side of the creek.
She wasn’t going to let anyone suffer like that poor man…alone.
He didn’t seem to hear her approach. He had picked up a dandelion and was staring at it like it was a rare piece of art by Van Gogh, or maybe one of the Impressionist French Women. It seemed to lift the cape of melancholy, but only momentarily. Then he let the dandelion slip out of his slender fingers to float gently to the grass. Only then did he turn to look at her.
“Oh. My. God.” (Only later did she realize how accurate her first reaction had been)
His face was beyond handsome, beyond beautiful, beyond perfect. It was beyond Angelic (had they existed). Beyond Heavenly (had it existed). Beyond Human (and that existed).
Her heart was human, her mind was that of a female, and her feelings were those of any woman in the face of a fantasy made real. She was also kind. That is why the first words out of her mouth were not the words he expected, or had heard so many times before:
“Are you okay? Do you need a shoulder to cry on? Or just someone to hold your hand?”
Melancholy melted from him like hot fudge over frozen ice cream, smoothly pulling the sides of his lips up into a smile. Dazzle would be the correct way to describe that smile.
“No. Yes. Yes. Those are the answers to your questions.”
His voice held the hint of a tenor just past the edge of baritone. A male voice. A masculine Voice. A strong voice quavering with unknown pain.
So, without a word, she took his hands in hers, pulled him closer to her body, let go of one hand to reach up and pull his head down to her shoulder. She felt the tension in his body as first he surrendered to the maternal posture in her body. Then the trembling as tears fell from him in a cascade that completely soaked her blouse, ran down her back, and yet they still continued to fall…a torrent every bit as strong as the stream behind her after a rainfall.
Not knowing what to do, she kept cradling his head on her shoulder repeating the same words over and over again, as she would for any child who was afraid and suffering:
“Now now now, it is going to be okay. You just let it all out. It will be alright. Let it go.”
The sobs subsided. The tears tumbling out as individuals now dribbled to a stop. She continued to caress his hair (which felt like the finest of silk, with a thread count only the very very rich could afford), the words still echoing from her every breath:
“Shh…shh…shh…it will be okay. You are safe. It is going to be okay. Everything is going to be just fine. Just fine.”