The line on the sidewalk, painted over a few cracks, a leaf or two and maybe an ant, said
I didn't know I was in a race, he said. But it felt like it.
He looked down. The small ketchup stain from an errant french fry on his shirt looked back at him.
No, no number on my chest. I didn't enter a race. But there it is.
It's right there. And you know, he said, I feel better just having reached that line.
I'm tired. I need to sit. Rest, he thought.
So he sat. It was a good bench.
It was flat against a brick wall, facing east.
The evening sun was behind the wall, casting shadows to the fall-stripped trees.
The bench provided, as well, an acceptable view of those approaching
if one were to look to the south.
And so he watched them come.
One, two, a handful. First, first, many firsts, many confused, but many backs straightening as packs fell and thudded into shed brown leaves or dull green grass or black packed earth or rough gray concrete.
Voices, stirring vortices:
What is Race? Are we Can I
this? Done? I don't
go home? What's remember
entering a next?
He watched, they sat, he smiled, they wrinkled their eyes.
The sun sank lower as eyes closed.
What are you doing, they asked?
I realized something, he said.
I have to go.
I haven't finished, I've only begun.
I'm off to find out where to
He grabbed his pack, shifted his things,
And headed north.