The old man sits on the park bench, soft raindrops trickle from the tree above him. Shafts of sunlight glimmer on the wet grass like diamonds, while birds chirp in the trees. The rainstorm has passed and the park returns to life around him.
A young woman plunks herself down beside him; the old man beams, grateful for the company. The young woman clicks and taps at her cellphone, and does not acknowledge the old man. She does not heed the increasing dribble of the raindrops, does not notice the chirping birds have quieted, and is unaware of the soft grumble of thunder as it rolls towards the park.
The old man watches as tears cloud her eyes. She wipes them away, still transfixed by the blue light of the phone in her hands. She stifles a sob; a lance of sunlight spears the clouds. He wants to tell her it’s all right, but a loud honk drowns out his words.
Startled, she looks up from her cellphone. Her heart breaks at the text message glaring on its screen: goodbye.
Cool raindrops fall on her salty cheeks and a pale sun ray gleams on her bench. In it, she discerns an old man in an ornate overcoat, breeches with white stockings, and tricorn hat shimmering beside her. His face is kind and welcoming, and as he opens his mouth, the wind whispers in her ear: hello.