Heat, humidity, and the long day induced weariness. Sitting on a bench in city hall’s shadow, he looked across the plaza. The crowds were thinning. Most of the holiday action was drifting into the restaurants or up into the park proper.
A middle-aged blonde woman danced with a child on the plaza stones. Each was dressed in purple and white clothes, and laughed, twirling their clothes as they spun around.
Deeply inhaling to swallow sad memories, he smiled. Sean’s passing had ripped his marriage apart. After the divorce, he’d remarried, but he’d never had another child. There’d been two, but both were gone. Sean was the end. He missed the laughter and movement that a child brought to a scene.
“Dance, mommy, dance,” Laurel shouted. Laughing, Melany recalled her childhood dance lessons and pretended to be a ballerina. After applauding, Laurel mimicked her movements.
Melany caught a glimpse of the man on the edge of her vision. Sitting on a bench, he looked like he might be drunk. She didn’t like the way he stared at them, like a predator.
Pretending she was out of breath, she collected Laurel. “Come on, honey. We’d better go find the others and get something to eat. Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?”
“Yes, I am hungry.” Laurel took her hand and began marching away with giant steps. “Come on, walk like this.”
Giving the man one final dirty look over her shoulder, Melany followed her daughter to safety as the man finally looked away.