I sat in the grey shade, on a patch of almost green grass.

It was torrid and windy. Which, was bearable as long as the breeze blew, but the moment it stopped, the heat would encircle me- and then just as it had captured me- it would thrust me aside as the winds blew again. I felt like a ship being buffeted at sea. I sat there in the dirt, barefoot, watching the crowds of people picnicking or dunking each other in the lake. The trees near me swayed, their branches swirling in the wind; their shadows making random shapes on my arms. Because of the hot temperature, the park was flooded with people. The picnic tables were littered with plastic Winco bags and chips and Sprite. Paper cups or a napkin or two occasionally flew by in the wind. Families of every descent seemed present, each with their 23 children and 65 lawn chairs. The beach was overgrown with towels and sunscreen bottles, soaked diapers and stray flip flops. A child ran past me with a precarious looking sucker jutting from his mouth. I watched a boy and girl toss a pink ball back and forth; the girl never seemed to be able to catch it. The wind grabbed my hair and plastered it on my face, making it ridiculous to see anything. I held my hair away from my eyes as a young boy on the swings caught my attention. He was no older than 12. He sat on the swing with a cigarette in his mouth; pumping up and down, up and down, a puff of smoke trailing behind him. A wailing sound broke into my reverie. A mob of little children were making a mad dash to the sound, towards... towards what? "Ice cream!" I heard someone shout. And there it was, the ice cream...van. Playing very, very loud Christmas music. "Go tell him it's July," I said to the little brown-eyed toddler, staring at me from the baby swing. Something that resembled fried food wafted indelicately through the air. I heard someone laugh. I heard a scream. Someone swore, loudly. A woman with bright green Crocs walked past me. A small boy with a plastic bucket marched past my feet. To the right of me a girl was bothering two little children on the tire swing. They wanted off-- they screamed, cried. She twisted it up and let it go...twisted and let it go. Each time she stepped back, laughing. They fell off, finally, at the end of their third ride; dizzy and sick. They collapsed in two little heaps, sobbing on the bark chips. She pointed, laughing. I turned my head to watch the nearly naked swimmers. Their white pasty legs and sunburned faces clambered in and out of the off-brown water.

There are times in life, when one feels a part of humanity, when you feel one with your fellow bank teller, or the man who waved to you at the intersection. But, then there are times, like these, when one feels completely alienated. As I surveyed everyone, this small part of humanity, I drew conclusions about them all-- the picnickers, swingers and swimmers-- I felt as if I knew who most of them were and how they were pursuing their lives. Sometimes, you can tell things like that from just simply watching people. I felt as if all the evidence I needed was being presented right in front of me. And it made me sad.

I stood up and grabbed my water bottle and keys. I waved to the little dark-eyed toddler still stuck swinging in the baby swing.

My eyes began swimming in a sea of salt water.

Must have been all the wind and dust.

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