Bystanders

Hank, Joyce, and Larry sat on a bench, watching the park. They did not talk, nor did they interact with anything around (other than the bench). They just sat, and watched.

A young family walked towards them, the father of Asian descent, the mother Caucasian. Their two children ran in circles around the walking couple. The family slowed as they neared the bench, uncertain of these three spectators. Hank, Joyce, and Larry continued to sit and to watch, making no comment, nor any move in a friendly or threatening way. The parents hustled their children on.

A teenage couple walked past, the boy wearing a flat-brimmed cap, his hand holding the back of his girlfriend’s neck while she, in jeans and a t-shirt, looked uncomfortable. The boy made a fake lunge at the three bystanders, who remained unblinking. He hurried his girlfriend forward, though she seemed inclined to stay.

An older man walked past, supporting himself with a cane. As he neared the trio, he started flexing his left arm. After a moment, he fell, a hand on his chest. Two joggers stopped. One pulled out a phone and called 911 while the other began CPR. The three onlookers watched as they kept the old man’s heart pulsing until an ambulance arrived.

At the end of the day, Hank, Joyce, and Larry stood, nodded to each other, and dispersed until the next morning.

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