Sometimes I like to watch people.
In the far edge in the middle of the park, there was a bench and a small girl was sitting on it. That girl was sitting patiently and quietly on the bench. She had no intentions being at the park. The girl quietly sits on the dry, wooden bench, next to another bench and a tall, leafless tree. People tend to walk by and rush away to their desired destinations while the girl sits still in no motion watching them. She watches many people. Tall people, short people, thin people and even thick people. She doesn’t really care because all she knows is watching people makes her happy.
The day goes by quick, and the park empties out completely. There was no one to watch; no one to look at. At night, the air is very sleet. The coldness wraps around the girl like a blanket and forces her to leave. Still, the girl continues to sit on the cold, dry wooden bench and watch the stars. But this was not pleasing her. This was not pleasing her because those stars were not people.
Exactly at 9:45PM, she gets up from her spot and quietly walks home. Each step she walks makes a quiet skipping sound. Shht. Shht. Shht. The sound echoes throughout the streets she walks on. The night was silent. Nobody could be seen or heard. Nobody.
Exactly at 10:00PM she arrives home. She enters her home and retires for the day.
The next morning, the girl wakes up exactly at 6:05AM. She ready’s herself for another day at the park. She’s always the first person to be there. Always. She sits in the same spot she sat in the day before, and looks out into the park; enjoying its fine scenery. The morning passes, and the afternoon is where most of the people walk through the park. She recognizes most of these people’s faces; the man in the business suit with blonde hair that reaches his ears. She remembers him. He comes every day at exactly 11:35AM to take a shortcut to his work. She also recognizes the lady that brings her kids to the park every other day, or that man selling hot dogs. There are many people she recognizes.
But her eyes catch a boy who she doesn’t recognize at all.
Sometimes I find myself attracted to a person.
That young man had light blonde hair that reached his ears. It was loose and looked like it was made out of silk. They were reflecting the sun’s rays. His face was shimmering with a small glow in the light. His skin was pale. His eyes were wandering the beauty of the park. He wore a light blue cotton t-shirt and khaki colored capris with army pockets and lining. He’d seem like a regular young man in the park on a Saturday morning; but no, the girl knew he wasn’t. Forget all the other people walking down the narrow passageway to the other side of the park. Forget the screams and laughter of small children playing the wet grass. Forget the smell of barbeques and rusted tire hinges on the side of a car. She felt herself attracted to one person, and that was him.
He continues to walk through the crowd and end up on the other side of the park. The girl was too shy to move. She followed him with her eyes instead. She stood still and carefully watched the young man walk into a store. That motivated her to get up and follow him.
To see exactly what he does.
Sometimes, I will keep watching them.
The next morning at exactly 6:05AM, the girl quickly got up and dressed herself for another day at the park. She wonders to herself if he is going to be there too; in the same spot, at the same time. Oh she’ll be waiting.
Her predictions were right; he was there at the same spot, just arriving seven minutes later than exact. He wore a different darker shade of blue cotton t-shirt, but still wore the same khaki colored capris with the army pockets and lining. She thought they looked better than yesterday.
She quietly sits on the bench, admiring the young man when he suddenly notices her glancing at him from afar. She catches her actions and turns a rosy pink. The girl still stays put and buries her hands in her skirt pockets and hides her nose and mouth in her scarf. He steadily makes his way over to her and happily greets her with a smile.
“Hello,” he jovially welcomes. “I’ve noticed your eyes have been gazing in my direction,” He gave a warm smile and sat next to the girl. She was very embarrassed that the one she seemed attracted to catch her admiring him from afar. “It’s okay if you seem embarrassed. I feel like that all the time.”
She looked up at him. “You do?”
“Of course! Trust me; I’ll be the clumsiest person you know.” It’s noon already. She’s been intently looking at him for over fifteen minutes. It’s now 12:01PM now. “By the way, I’m Tino.” He was looking for a response of her name but she instead took out a small notepad and a ballpoint pen and wrote it down. She held it up for him to see. “Ah. Hello to you there.” He shook her hand and helped her get up. “I hope we can soon meet each other again.”
“As do I.” She sweetly replied. With that, he left the park at exactly 12:08PM.
Sometimes, I will follow them to the bus stop…
April 19, 2003
12:47PM; Central Bus Station
It’s raining. The people I watch all have umbrellas, just like I do. Except mine isn’t decorated with patterns or light colored pastels. It was black; black as a raven’s soul. But it doesn’t matter, because his bus stop comes exactly at 12:50PM. Ah, there it is. Right on time.
The girl closed her journal and locked it away in her small, brown messenger bag. She sits on the cold, wet bench while holding the black umbrella above her head. She watches Tino get off the bus and into the sidewalk. He’s wearing a black coat to match his dark blue jeans. He’s so cute while he waits. He walks into the station at 12:54PM.
She takes out her Polaroid camera and takes a picture of him. The film comes out and she dries it quickly. She still waits there, watching him meet up with important people and give hugs and kisses with relatives of his. Though jealously builds up inside her, she still remains cool and watches him from afar.
He then leaves the station with his family at 1:03PM. She quietly gets up from her spot, and continues her journey stalking the poor young man.
…to the grocery store…
April 30, 2003
3:26PM; Local Manhattan Farmer’s Market
The sound of a tacky grocery store’s tune played. It filled the place with joy while also covering up the sounds of the girl’s footsteps following Tino. She turns the corner, and spots him in the international food selections. He grabs two bags of Finnish pulla and a pound American ground coffee. He sets them into the basket he’s holding and whistles while making his way into the checkout line. She quickly follows him from behind.
She takes out her journal and writes the following:
“I wonder exactly he’s going to do with two bags of Finnish Pulla; especially with a pound of ground coffee. Is it a tradition of his? I also wonder if he’s Finnish. His name does sound exotic. There are some small details I desire to learn about within him. What is his favorite color? Any hobbies he does? When does he plan to go to school again? Does he have a girlfriend, or perhaps a significant other?
Why is he buying those things…?”
She puts away the ballpoint pen and tucks the journal away in the same, small brown messenger bag. She takes out the exact same camera she had before and snaps a picture of him. The film comes out slowly and she dries it out. By the time she put it away, Tino was done paying for his items and walked right out of the store exactly at 3:39PM. It’s almost time for afternoon Tea at Buckingham palace with the Queen. And also time for another person to be watched.
…to their job…
May 12, 2003
8:08AM; Manhattan Children’s Hospital
“And here is your medicine, Peter.” Tino bent down to the height of Peter and gently handed him a small prescription container filled with mini tablets meant for children. “Take one every day before you go to school in the morning. Okay, kiddo?”
“Got it Mr. Tino!” Peter giggled and Tino stood up to stretch. Peter and his father thanked Tino and left the Hospital. It appears Tino has a part time job as a children’s psychiatrist. He walked down the hall into a room. The girl followed him into his office, only peeking outside of his office. Luckily, there were seats next to her. She grabbed a pamphlet and pretended to read.
While she wasn’t noticing, a doctor walked into his office. “Mr. Väinämöinen,” he addressed.
“Yes, Dr. Jones?” Tino softly replied.
“A patient is having an operation in a few hours. This particular patient though, has the blood type of O- and you’re the only one in this building who has the most compatible blood type to anybody. Would you be willing to donate blood for this patient?” Dr. Jones asked. Tino gave a worried look and gave out a sigh.
“Okay, I’ll be willing. Just how much does the patient need?”
“We’re not certain. We averaged it out to about two pints. We do not know if we need one or two, though. This is a risky task, Tino. Are you certain you can handle this?”
“I am certain. I’ll do it.” Tino followed Dr. Jones out of his office. The girl quickly followed closely behind. They went into the blood testing room and Dr. Jones called in for a professional to draw out the two pints of blood. The man first told Tino to relax his arm while they numb the circulation of his veins. He then puts rubbing alcohols on the inside of his right elbow and punctuates the desired spot. She could see the horror on his face while the man draws his blood. Two pints is a lot.
Once the blood was drawn, they were separated into two pouches, both going to the surgeons. Apparently, they only needed a pint of blood and Dr. Jones asked Tino if he wanted to put back the pint of blood into his system again. Tino rejected the offer, only because he’s afraid of sharp objects piercing into his skin. She snuck into the operating room and took the other pouch of O- blood. She quickly hid it inside her bag and went to check on Tino. He was quietly resting his head on the table. What a sweet sight that was to her.
She sat in the chair inside his office and took out her journal, jotting down the following:
“Previously watching him from his job, he got a haircut exactly twenty minutes before he came to work at 7:50AM. He told the barber just to cut a trim of his hair. While paying attention to watching the barber cut his hair, he accidentally cut of a lock and it landed right next to Tino's left foot. Neither of them noticed the lock falling on the ground. Once he was done with his haircut, the barber didn't care to pick up his remaining hair so I went inside the barber's shop and quickly picked it up myself. I held it in my hands until I was capable of getting a zip-lock bag to put it in.
I then followed him to his part time job as a Children’s psychiatrist. Oh! I’ve also learned he has a rare blood type of O-. One of the patients of the hospital he works at also has the same blood type as him, so he needed to donate some of his blood. They donated too much, so now I now have a pouch of his blood. It's still warm. How... delightful.”
She takes the camera out and snaps another photo. Waits for the film, dries it out. She puts it away and looked up at Tino. He’s still resting. She stood up from the chair and caressed his back. Something on his desk made her intrigued. It was his address. She quietly picked it up and left his office. She left the Hospital unnoticed afterwards.
…to their house…
May 23, 2003
11:06PM; Manhattan Island Suburban Neighborhoods
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The noise she makes while taking steps woke up the guard dog of the neighborhood. She quietly ignored the barking pest and continued her search for his house. She went through the hidden woods behind another neighborhood and reached some houses that have similar numbers close to his. 1634, 1635, 1636…
1637. House 1637, on Manhattan Island Suburban Neighborhoods. This is his house.
It’s nice he only has a one story house, or it would be a pain getting to his room if he lived on a two story house. She crept around the building and found what seemed to look like his bedroom. 12:45 AM, and lurking around his house. Wouldn’t you call that… stalking?
Of course not.
She looked into the windows of his room. The room was dark blue and you could barely make out what was in it since it was dark. But you can see parts of his desk and a small full bed. Laying in it was Tino. His face seemed so peaceful. His arms were tucked under the pillow while his head rests between the edge of his white blanket and his mattress. How adorable. She squats between a rose bush and the wall of his house. She could stay in this position forever. A few minutes and then a few hours went by. Tino shifted in his bed, and tried to reach for something on his nightstand. In a second, the lights went on and he risen up from his bed.
The girl ducked down from the window sill. She took a quick glance into his room. He began to strip himself of his sleepwear until he hit underwear. Her face starts to warm up. Then they start to redden. She holds her cheeks from blushing anymore. He looks around his messy room for a shirt. Her eyes wander back and forth, following his movement. She takes out her journal once again.
“I’ve seen what he buys. I’ve seen where he works. I’ve seen where he sleeps. I know when he goes to the bus stop. I’ve recorded the time. I’ve got the evidence. No more wasting precious minutes. It’s time.”
She takes out her camera and takes one last snapshot of him. Waits for the film and dries it out. She puts the photo into the folder labeled, Tino Väinämöinen. She puts it back into her brown messenger bag. It’s now 6:18AM, and today will be the day it will happen.
…Wherever they are going…
It was the morning of May 24th, 2003. The sun was shining bright, and the people were happy as usual. She sat there at the same exact bench. Watching different kinds of people go in and out of the park. She sees Tino in the far left corner of the park. She keeps a watchful eye on him. By the end of the day, she’ll get what she wants. He turns around. He sees her. He’s coming towards her. The girl stays calm on the outside; pretending not to see him. Of course, she can’t look away.
“It’s you!” Tino cheerfully greeted. “I see you’re here in the same spot we met. What goes on?” He smiles and with glee. She replies like any normal person; explaining how her day was nice and how the weather was too. “Hey, would you like to go and roam around the city for a while?”
She stares at him for a blank second. Her feelings couldn’t say no. “Sure,” she lightly replied.
He grins from ear to ear and takes her hand. “Where do you want to go?”
It’s not time. Not yet. Let this last until midnight. Then she’ll do it.
Sometimes I take them home with me…
“You have a very beautiful house.” Tino stepped into her elegant looking parlor.
“Thank you…” Her soft voice was very charming. Tino had taken her out all day in the heart of New York City. He took her everywhere; from Manhattan to Brooklyn to Queens to Bronx. Both of them had a great time. It was like she enjoyed it too much.
What is this emotion she’s feeling?
Is it love?
And sometimes… just sometimes…
11:55PM. It’s almost time. At midnight, she’ll do what she has to do. “Tino…? Would you like some coffee?”
“Sure! That would be nice!” He took off his jacket and sat down on the parlor chair. She stealthily walks into the kitchen and slowly grabs a mug. Time passes as she makes the coffee. She really likes Tino. He’s in her house. It’s also very clear that Tino likes her too. But it’s not her intention to do this. It’s not her choice. It’s her duty to do it.
She walks back into her parlor. “Here you go Tino…” She hands him the hot mug of coffee. “Oh dear, it looks like I forgot the sugar…”
“Oh that’s okay! Take your time getting it!” Tino sips the coffee mug and enjoys sweet bliss. Though she wasn’t getting the sugar, oh no. “You know… I think I really like you…” Tino says as soon as he hears the door swing open again.
“Is that so?”
“Of course! You’re a very sweet spirit. I like you.”
“Tino… could you do me a favor?”
“Sure! Of course… what is it?”
“To say goodbye.”
“Goodbye. Wait, why-” It was too late for poor Tino to finish his sentence. The clock struck midnight. The girl gripped the kitchen knife from her hand and sunk it into his back. His blood spread all around his shirt and leaked onto the red parlor chair. He was paralyzed.
“It’ll all be over… I promise… once you’re out, we’ll be together forever. You’ll never have to leave me.”
…I let them live.