Beguiled by Night
He’d never seen her during the day. Well, maybe that wasn’t so surprising. He left for work before first light in the morning, and usually didn’t get home until after six each night. But in any case, it wasn’t until he took Bumble out for their long evening walk that he saw her, sitting there alone in the dark on the bench in the little pocket park at the corner.
At first, he just nodded as he passed, and continued on his way. She seemed to be faced inward toward some private view he couldn’t see, and gave no sign of noticing him. He was reluctant to intrude.
One night, Bumble pulled her leash from his hand, and ran up to give her hand a tentative lick. She laughed, and she looked up as he approached.
“Hi. I hope Bumble didn’t scare you. She’s usually shy around strangers, but since we see you here often, I guess she’s decided you’re her friend.”
“I’m honored, Bumble,” she said, scratching the big dog behind the ears.
Now that they were friends, Bumble always stopped for a quick visit when she was there as they passed the bench. Sometimes, she even brought a treat, firmly cementing the friendship in Bumble’s mind.
Occasionally, he’d take a seat on the bench beside her and they’d talk a little. Her name was Jasmine, he learned, and she lived around the corner and down the block in the little apartment building he and Bumble often walked by on their nightly tour of the neighborhood. Her apartment had no outside space, so she thought of this park as her “yard.” She loved the soft night air, she told him, and sitting out here was her favorite refreshment. She much preferred it to being out in the bright light of day.
Both he and Bumble came to look forward to seeing her, and were both disappointed on the evenings she wasn’t there. There was just something so peaceful sitting on the bench with her, talking quietly as she petted Bumble’s head, which always seemed to find its way into her lap. They were beguiled.
One night, after they’d talked for longer than usual, she said that, as much as she enjoyed the company here in the park, she really had to head home.
“Bumble and I are going that way,” he said. “May we walk along with you?”
“Of course,” she answered, smiling. She rose, and reached beneath the bench for the white cane he’d never noticed there before. She put her arm out to find his.
“Shall we go?”