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A View From Central Park

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

By KKS

August 3, 2019

A view from Central Park

For our anniversary yesterday, my husband and I spent the day walking for miles around NYC and talking with our dear friends from Seattle, whom we met out here to celebrate our 23 and 24 Anniversaries together. While out and about walking, we made a pass through Central Park. I love to people watch, and have as long as I can remember, so walking around a crowded city kept me busy. Being amongst a crowd is often when I feel the most “invisible” or alone. So when I walk, I look into the swirl of faces and watch for people that make eye contact with me.


At one point, we stopped to sit on the park bench and rest in the shade. There was a crowd gathered around the Imagine mosaic, which is the John Lennon Memorial in the part of Central Park they call, Strawberry Fields. Here there was a man playing old Beatles tunes on the guitar. He was singing along and trying desperately to get the crowd to join him in a chorus of “Hey Jude.” Sitting to the right of the musician was an older, well dressed man, grooving expressively to the music. He was both strange and beautiful to watch.


Across the path from me was a man, maybe in his early sixties, that was talking to himself. He looked like he was from around the city. He had longer grey hair pulled back in a loose ponytail. He was dressed comfortably in an old, well-worn, classically grey cotton sweatshirt, khaki shorts, beat up Keen hiking shoes, and wearing simple black-framed glasses that sat slightly askew on his face. From what I could tell, he was holding both sides of a conversation that he was trying to work through. I watched him get to, what appeared to be, the same spot in the conversation, over and over again. That spot kept making him angry. I wondered if he was mentally ill, verbally processing with himself or maybe just very alone in the world?


Before the four of us continued on our walk, I decided to let the man know that I “saw him.” I walked over said, “hi” and asked him if it would be okay if I shook his hand. He replied, “Yes! It would be my pleasure.” I noticed how bright his face became. His angry furrowed brow, just disappeared. His eyes locked into mine as I reached my hand out to him.


He had a firm handshake. His hand was surprisingly smooth and his grip felt so secure. My hand felt snuggly "locked" inside his hand. He felt so present and “normal” as we stood there connected hand to hand. After smiling back at him and then releasing our hands, I felt so acknowledged; I felt so sincerely greeted. I can only hope, in this world where people often feel so alone, that he too felt at least a little more visible as he continued to swim in the sea of faces that surrounded him. My only regret was not asking him his name. So, to that man, thank you for acknowledging me. I felt a little more connected and visible after sharing a handshake with you.

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