It was a bad day. She’d made up her mind for it to be a bad day after the last coffee had been placed into the last hand of the last customer. It had been building since she got up that morning- the broken toilet, the futility of calling the super, the congested subway, the miserable weather, the noise, the smoke, the non-stop chaos that came from a million people living their lives in a tiny cramped, space. A malfunctioning espresso machine and a seemingly endless string of annoyed, rushing customers had nailed the coffin lid down so thoroughly she’d passed stressed and settled into depressed.
By the time she got off work she had decided that the only logical course of action was to wallow in the park. She walked the full 17 blocks there and allowed the noise of screeching brakes and honking cabs to lull her into a daze of hatred and self-pity. She thought about her go-nowhere job and do-nothing boyfriend and the box full of post cards from places she’d never seen under her pitifully empty bed and felt the loneliness chill her to the bone. Well, the loneliness or the constant mist that had kept her miserable the entire walk over, either way.
She barely even noticed she’d reached the park until she nearly walked head-first into the iron gate that marked the entrance. She smirked angrily, thinking of how a head contusion would’ve marked the perfect end to the perfect day. Then she walked through the gate.
All of the plants were still draped in burlap and the ground looked barren and empty. In the summer time it was one of the most lovely places in existence but now it was soaked in melancholy. She sat down on the cold bench, put her head in her hands, and heaved a heavy sigh. As the landscape worked on her she felt herself slipping further into her self-satisfied depression and it wasn’t long before tears were building at the corner of her eyes.
She would’ve stayed there, wilted there, rotted there. But the sun was setting and twilight quickly dimmed the gloomy vision. Her chill was progressing into a full-on freeze and the shivering which overtook her ruined her stagnant pose. Reluctantly, she got up off the bench and began her long trudge home.
But then something caught her eye- a tiny spot of color in the dismal, gray world. She approached the branch and stared at it. The tiniest hint of green and red was showing and for the first time she could sense life in the skeletal branches. It was small, minute, insignificant. But it was there. An insistent reminder that spring was coming.
She smiled at the little branch, said a silent prayer of thanks, and left.