He sat on the bench, eyes downcast,
reeling from what he saw.
It did not appear in a dark corner.
And it did not appear when he was alone.

It appeared to him as he ate in a crowded diner.

The apparition sat in a chair,
smiling in his direction.

It was not a toothy smile;
or a malicious smile;
it was a gentle smile.

Reassuring…

Yet startling…

For a moment, his eyes locked
with the eyes of the apparition.

The man blinked…

And then it was gone, replaced by a child
enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone with her family.
She noticed him looking in her direction
and waved, her face and hands covered in ice cream.

Looking through her, he did not respond;
he wiped his mouth
and slid out of the booth,
leaving the eatery, forgetting to pay.

In a daze, he wandered down the street
until he came to a bench, where he sat down
and ran his fingers through his short, brown hair;
with elbows on knees, he stared at a leaf
on the pavement without seeing it
considering the confluence of two worlds.

Was it reality or in the mind’s eye?

He was in another world, yet
the world around him kept spinning, refusing to stop;
a cab driver hammered on his horn;
a single mother of two
struggled to push a stroller and control her toddler
on her way home from work;
a man, headed to a bar, loosened his tie as he strolled
past the young man sitting on the bench.

Chronos moves sand through the glass
filling the bottom with memories.

The vision in the diner was one of many
pieces of sand to reflect reality in that specific moment.,
causing many to find their own bench
to reflect on the past.

After all, the past molds the present.

On that bench emotions flood his mind,
and colors flash before his eyes.

He is momentarily blind.

Green     Blue     Yellow     Red     Orange

Flash     Flash     Flash     Flash     Flash

He looks up, seeing the world once again.
The world has not changed… but he has.
The brilliance of the world returns;
colors and sounds rush at him with absolute clarity.

For the blink of an eye, sitting with him on the bench is his father,
dead these last five years.  He smiles a gentle smile…
and is gone just as quick.

Sand flows through the reaches of time with urgency.
It is important to see vibrancy in those pieces of sand…

in each grain,

in each moment,

as it passes into the great ether.

The young man rises, and, tucking his hands into his pockets,
walks down the busy sidewalk with a newfound lightness in his step.

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