An Afternoon at Lake Eola

I sat under a cypress tree along the bank of Lake Eola, thinking about my strange connection with this place. The early evening sun ignited the sky with its amber brilliance. I thought of a line from one of Saint-Lambert’s poems: “L’année à son déclin recouvre sa beauté.” I tried to think about all the times I walked around the lake, with whom, and going to or from where. I held a hand here. I met someone here for July 4 fireworks, twice. I said a goodbye here. I cherish these dreamy recollections not for what they were, but for what they never became. I looked at the other people walking and laughing, sharing obligatory smiles with passersby whose eyes connected with mine. I looked at the buildings framing the lake and wondered why they didn’t hold a significant place in my memories; which ones were here 10 years ago and which ones are new? I wondered how long I would be here, in Orlando, and how many more times I would walk around the lake. Who would I meet, and why? Would it be planned or accidental? Would I even meet anyone here again at all? If I did, would the memories be fond, or would they be dismissed and forgotten?

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