As he did every morning, weather permitting, 82-year-old Henry Goldsmith went to the coffee shop across the boulevard from the city park, where he ordered a black coffee and a cheese danish. Then he’d walk across the street, settle down onto his usual park bench, take bites out of his pastry and sips of his coffee as he waited for his little friend to show up.
Almost like clockwork, the small squirrel would run down a nearby tree and stand on the grass just outside of Henry’s reach. That’s when Henry would zip open up the leather fanny pack he wore around his waist and toss a raw, shelled peanut to the squirrel, who would retrieve the nut, sit upright, and place it in its mouth. Once the squirrel finished the first nut, Henry would toss it another. And another. And another.
It was a routine that Henry cherished, so much so that he even named the little squirrel “Rascal.” Henry and Rascal would rendezvous each morning and became the best of pals.
But neither of them, one one fateful morning, heard the sound of the hawk circling overhead. And neither of them saw the hawk swoop down, grab Rascal with one of its sharp talons, and swiftly fly up and out of sight over the trees.
It was said that 82-year-old Henry Goldsmith, while sitting on his usual park bench taking bites out of his cheese danish, sipping his coffee, and feeding peanuts to squirrels, died that morning of a heart attack.
But what Henry Goldsmith really died of that morning on the park bench was a broken heart.
Written for this week’s Time To Write picture prompt from Rachel Poli.