I pulled into the parking garage, picked a spot and settled back to listen to one more song. I reached for the keys, took a glance at the clock and laughed.
I had an hour to kill.
I snatched up my new book and left the garage. The day was warm. Not the usual choking heat of late July, but a milder heat. Almost comfortable. I glanced around for a place to camp and quickly found it. A tree and two benches sat amidst a riot of color and sculptures at Overton Square.
I managed at least ten minutes in the shade before my mind began to wander and I gave up all hope of making any headway in my book. So I lay down, a closed book for a pillow.
And a new world opened up before me.
For a few minutes I simply enjoyed the colors. The mural was not new to me, but I had never taken the time to do more than casually take it in. Today, I drank it in, and when I’d had my fill. I checked my eyelids for holes.
My attempted nap didn’t last long. Closing my eyes only freed my mind to wander wildly about in frantic thoughts and unanswerable questions. My eyes returned to the mural, and with it, to the painted reliefs in the brick wall next to it. On then to the bare whiff of a cloud standing bright white against the sky. I tried in vain to make some image of the sparse cloud, but if any dragons or faeries resided there, they had no intention of revealing themselves to me.
I tried to rest again, only to be interrupted soon after by a sudden brightness. The orange glow behind lidded eyes turned a bright yellow and I scowled at the glare penetrating the leaves of my not so adept guardian. I examined his leaves and the large number of gaps through which the light danced.
After a time, my eyes returned to the mural with its bright colors, only to discover him staring out from the window in unremarked black and white, the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. He looked out on the rest of us wine in hand, untouchable and imperturbable. I wondered at what he might be about and may have found my answer in the shocked expressions of the Seussian children staring out their nearby window in shock. I checked my own surroundings, but whatever set them on edge had little to do with me.
Checking my watch I found I still had ten minutes left until my appointed meeting, so I tried to drift off once again. It didn’t last. I promptly gave up and rose. I looked one last time upon my mural, for now I surely felt a bit of ownership in it, and discovered that fluorescent flowers had sprouted beneath Hitchcock’s window.
In the end, my unexpected hour held a lesson for me. I had taken the mural for granted. It wasn’t until I took time to return to it again and again, forced or otherwise, that I truly began to see it. And with every return it held something new.
I wonder what I’ll find next time.