The little man on the park bench turned up his collar against the cold and then checked his pocket watch for the third time. It was ten past four. She would be late for her piano lesson if she didn’t hurry. He waited looking disinterested to anyone who may be watching. He heard her familiar footfall coming up the path and then there she was. A ray of sunshine on this cloudy day, yellow ribbons tied on the ends of her long brown braids. She ran quickly up the path her little backpack bouncing behind her.
He smiled as he got up from the bench and stretched his legs. He tossed the crumbs from his napkin to the birds and tightened the lid on his little coffee thermos.
It was surprising to him how big she was getting already, almost nine now and looking so very much like her mother. He had watched her every day almost every day for three years. Every afternoon on the way to piano lessons or ballet class, some days he would see her leaving school there had been a few times that he had sat near her in a restaurant or coffee shop and listened to her laughing and talking. Those had been the very best times, and the saddest. He would have so loved to have been a part of her life.
She didn’t know. She never saw him and even if she had seen him she wouldn’t know him. Perhaps she would one day, but not today and probably not anytime soon.