The Walk

Again.

He followed the winding corridor out onto the open pavilion, clacking his shoes on the cobblestone. Those houses with their familiar faces welcomed him.

He started past the market and then by the parlor. The man tipped his cap to the elderly woman on her bench in the square, gave a penny to the homeless man in the park, and leaned over to smell the azaleas at the exit.

His cane was not necessary for his walk, but it was essential to his style. Every once in a while, he swung the rod in a circle or tapped the bottom along the ground. When he went past the church, with its large pillars overlooking the township, the man would lift his cane, take off his hat, and then, after a moment, he’d be off again.

Why this man took his walk at this time each day no one quite knew. They had their own habits to speculate the cause for. He was not a dangerous man, nor a suspect one, and so his walk was his business. Some say he was retired, while others say he still occasionally worked in the city. Was his walk for pleasure, for exercise? Difficult to say; pointless too. If you were to ask him why he walked, he’d stop and speculate, just like the rest of us. The only thing that matters is he does walk, he has walked.

For although he is just one man, and his walk is just one walk, it is now important to the experience of the township, almost a sanctioned attraction. Just as the town forms the man’s walking trail, you could say the man’s walk has in turn shaped the town. The walk bas been adapted into the township’s person. And as such, though the walk is not necessary, it has become essential.

A day will come, we know, when this man won’t come outside. He won’t emerge from the corridor. The winds will sigh in mourning, as again becomes no more.