COMPANION
by Mark Hurtubise

In a small round city park, Timothy, an almost unconditionally-loved young boy, frequently played alone under 16 oak trees sharing the perimeter with eight wooden picnic tables. Unlike imaginations around him, he fastidiously carved his initials into all the tables. Across the street, on the west side of the park, was a tall gray building. Timothy liked to practice counting. He added up 77 windows checker-boarding the building’s east side. Periodically, his random glances noticed silhouettes behind the windows’ sheer curtains. In late fall afternoons, the structure’s shadow slowly walked east across the park into his house on the other side of the park.

Timothy became an accountant then a bee-keeper because he was never alone with so many numbers. Now he shuffles daily across voiceless solitude to a window with sheer curtains. There, he counts children across the street playing in a small round city park. In late fall afternoons, he calculates with his watch and logs into a ledger how long it takes for the building’s shadow to slowly walk east across the park into his former house on the other side of the park. His curiosity complete because of Counting’s companionship.  

About the Author:

Mark Hurtubise. During the 1970s, numerous works were accepted for publication. Then family, teaching, two college presidencies and for 12 years president of an Inland Northwest community foundation. Recapturing the euphoria from the authors he read decades ago, he is attempting to compose again. His writings the past two years have appeared in Apricity Magazine (Texas), Adelaide Literary Magazine (New York), Bones Journal (Denmark), Modern Haiku (Rhode Island), Ink In Thirds (Alabama), Atlas Poetica (Maryland), Frogpond Journal (New York), Stanford Social Innovation Review and Alliance (London).

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