Oliver poked the old man twice, just to be sure.
The man sat on a bench, staring straight ahead at the grass across the path. He was not moving, he was not acting or reacting. He just sat, staring.
Oliver held his hand under the old man’s nose to feel a warm breeze emanating from it. Not dead then, Oliver thought. Just not moving.
Unsure what else to do, Oliver flagged down a passing police officer, who passed his hand in front of the old man’s eyes, snapped his fingers, poked and prodded, but all to no avail. The old man sat and stared at the grass.
A crowd gathered around, drawn by two men jabbing and yelling at another. The old man sat, a study in still life. It wasn’t until the ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted to cart him away that the old man relaxed his gaze and looked at them all.
“I was attempting to find nirvana, you blithering idiots. Now leave me be, I was almost there.”
The crowd dispersed, and a new one formed a few hours later.