No one really paid attention to the content old man on the yellow bench by the park. They walked by him, not ignoring him out of spite, but out of necessity, in their minds. The people had to be on their way, they could not stop to notice their surroundings whilst scurrying from one location to the next. Even in such a leisurely atmosphere, no one paid heed to the old man who simply stared to the skies.
One day however (a Tuesday in July, to be exact), a young boy approached the yellow bench and its ever-present resident. The boy took a seat next to the old man, who spoke not a word and continued to stare to the skies. Complete silence ensued, save for the occasional rustle of leaves on the trees.
“Do you think about stuff? I think about stuff,” the boy said, finally breaking the extensive silence.
“I do indeed,” the old man replied.
“I think about hard stuff to think about. Like universes and galaxies and time and taxes and what I’m going to look like when I’m twelve. What do you think about?”
“I think about universes and galaxies and time and taxes and what I looked like when I was twelve,” said the old man, continuing to gaze at the skies. There was a brief silence between the boy and the old man.
“How big do you think the universe is? Like the whole thing.”
“I think that it’s so big that I can’t even imagine its enormity with my feeble, old mind.” The boy looked slightly confused at the old man’s use of unfamiliar vocabulary. He cocked his head to one side.
“I think it’s as big as God,” the boy said casually, unwrapping a stick of gum. The old man nodded slightly and smiled. The boy began to chew his stick of gum and looked up at the sky as well, somewhat mimicking the old man.
“What are you lookin’ at anyway? Clouds? I can see things in the clouds sometimes. I can see a horse’s head right now. But then if the clouds move I hafta pick something new to see, cause I can’t see it anymore.”
“I do that, too,” the old man said. The boy squinted very hard to see what the old man was looking at so far up. Finding nothing, he looked back down to the ground, blinking furiously to get the sunspots out of his eyes.
“What do you think about time?” asked the boy. The old man thought before speaking.
“I believe we are given time here to do great things and that the wonder of time is that it’s not infinite, but terminal. Time will end for everyone eventually. It’s only a matter of when, really. Everyone gets a little slice of time and we use it however we like,” the old man said, still smiling.
“Uh huh. I wish I had more time alotta times. It’d be nice to have more minutes in a day and stuff – I could do a lot more. What would you do with more minutes? I’d probably ride my bike more. I like that a lot.”
“That sounds very nice.” The boy looked at the old man, still wondering why he kept his eyes toward the skies.
“You never said what you were looking at, y’know.”
“Oh, didn’t I?” said the old man with a glimmer of a smirk running across his face.
“Well, I am certainly sorry about that. I’m looking at…everything.”
“Everything isn’t up there! It’s everywhere!” said the boy laughing. “You should look at other things besides the sky. The sky’s nice but it can get boring, at least that’s what I think. Why don’t you look at trees? Or the grass? Or why don’t you look at that lady walking her little dog?”
“I’ve looked at all those things in my life and I’ve enjoyed them very much. Now it’s my time to look at this wondrous sky. “
“I like to look at lots of things. I haven’t looked at everything yet. I want to, though, I wanna look at everything. Have you looked at everything except the sky? Is that why you’re lookin’ at the sky now?”
“No no, of course not. I haven’t looked at everything, but that’s perfectly okay,” said the old man chuckling.
“You haven’t?? But you had like a hundred years to look at everything! That’s so much time!”
“That is so much time,” said the old man, continuing his warm smile. The boy and the old man were silent for a minute. The boy looked at his shoes, then at the lady and her little dog, then at his shoes again. The old man gazed to the skies.
“I wonder what I’ll be like when I’m twelve. Prob’ly not that different. I’ve got four years then I’ll be twelve. Did you like being twelve?”
“I loved being twelve. Do you know what I loved more?”
The boy giggled at this statement. The old man let out a little laugh as well, then took a deep breath and sighed happily. The boy looked at his watch that he had received in a Trix cereal box.
“It’s 4:18, I was s’posed to be home three minutes ago. I guess I’ll see you again sometime. Bye!” The old man lowered his gaze and looked at the boy.
“Goodbye,” the old man said warmly. The boy left his seat on the bench and scampered out of the park. The old man leaned back on the yellow bench once again, staring to the skies. This time, the old man shut his eyes. Time ended.