“Good Morning, Henry.” I said, as I passed my brother, in the dining room, with a big smile.
“Good morning. You seem joyful today. Why so?” he asked curiously as he sipped, his second cup of coffee, that morning. He was still in his night clothes, robe, and slippers even though it was late morning.
“Well, my dear brother some days you just feel the need to be joyus.” I said gayly as I tried on a hat in the mirror.
“My, I believe you. That’s a hideous hat you have on at the moment, it also looks disgustingly expensive” he said, teasingly, with a slight disapproval in his voice.
“It is rather ugly, and out of style, but lately I have been trying on a lot of mother’s hats for personal enjoyment. It is very expensive, so don’t you dare get the notion of pouring coffee on it to irritate me, it has real ostrich feathers on it.” I added, pretending to sound annoyed.
“I would not consider that, or ever do that.” replied Henry, pretending to sound sad, even though he had a twinkle in his eye.
“Today I was thinking of taking you to all of your favorite places in New York. You’ve barely gone out, except for Church, and to visit some friends. Besides, the weather is pleasant today…” I explained, as I took off the hat, before I got interrupted.
“That sounds wonderful. But don’t you have school?” he asked curiously, as he put down his emptied cup of coffee.
“Silly! It’s Saturday today.” I replied.
“Alright…” said Henry, still a little uncertain.
“Well get changed in suitable attire and meet me at the entrance.” I added with a sly smile, as I left the room. I knew Henry could not say no. He was not changed enough to miss out on visiting the places where he had the most enjoyment in the past.
I was right, in less than an hour’s time, I went down stairs and saw Henry at the entrance ready, and in his outing clothes. I smiled happily as I hurried down to join him.
“I’ve forgotten how persuasive you are, Shirley.” said Henry with a laugh as he held open the door for me.
“Thank you. Well, I am Shirley Monroe afterall.” I replied honestly, as I headed down the steps.
“Are we going to take the automobile?” asked Henry, as he studied the dangerously slippery streets.
“Well that is up to you, if you want to drive or not.” I replied, hoping that Henry would decide against the automobile but instead going on the streetcar and on foot. Automobiles rather frightened me if I could say so, especially when your brother was a fast driver, which was terrifying.
“Fine, let us walk and take the streetcar. I do remember that you hate automobiles.” he replied after some consideration.
“Oh goodie.” I said as I took his arm and led him down the street. He shook his head, and went along.
“Where are we going first?” he asked curiously. “And why are you carrying a loaf of bread?” he added.
“We are going to Central Park to feed the ducks.” I replied as I kept walking.
“Oh! Our winter tradition.” exclaimed Henry, with a hearty laugh, I laughed also, as I led him on. After entering a streetcar, soon enough we would arrive at our favorite park. A park that contained so many happy and wonderful memories, but also ones that were bittersweet.
Soon enough we arrived at our destination, Central Park, which was covered in a thin sheet of frost, common during winter. In the summer though the park was beautiful, green, and lush, unlike today, but that was not important. What was important was the fact that Henry was here, back home, and that we were in Central Park….
July 15th, 1912
“Shirley catch!” shouted Henry, as he hurled a brown ball at me. Terrified, yet excited I hurried, tried to catch, but missed.
“Bother! I missed it!” I groaned with disappointment.
“It’s alright. You’ll be able to catch it soon!” comforted Ralph, as he gently put an arm around my shoulder.
“Really?” I asked.
“Of course, you will!” reassured Ralph.
“Can we feed the ducks now?” I asked about changing the subject, as Henry towards us.
“Did I hear feeding the ducks? That’s for children.” said Henry teasingly. I glared at him a little but turned to Ralph.
“Of course we can, Shirley.” replied Ralph, gently, as he gave Henry the “look.”
“Oh goodie! Come on Henry…..”
I was jolted back to reality when a cold gust of wind blew in my face. Startled, I noticed that Henry was ahead of me, so I hurried towards him(he had suddenly stopped). I stood beside it for some time staring at the area, the icy pond, which had a few ducks, and the very familiar area.
“We used to play here all the time with our friends, when we were children, Ralph, you, and I.” said Henry wistfully.” I nodded a little.
“Remember when Ralph and I took you to this park for the first time without Lizzie watching us. Well we got into one of our first “real” corrals, and I in rage pushed you into the pond.” said Henry, with a snicker.
“Oh yes I do remember. I was wearing such a pretty rose colored frock that day, and it was ruined.” I replied with a giggle.
“Even then you fretted over your clothes. I never saw Ralph so angry at me in my life” said Henry, teasingly, even though he was serious.
“Yes. I believe I never cried so hard, and I never saw Lizzie so furious, she made that dress by hand you know.” I said reliving some memories, as I began crumbling some bread to throw at the birds, who gladly rushed over. Henry took some of the bread also and proceeded to do the same.
“I miss him.” I said after some silence.
“I do too.” replied Henry, as he took another chunk off the loaf. After we finished the actual loaf I shook out the napkin, it was getting more cold out, even though the sun was out.
“Where do you want to visit next, Henry?” I asked as I tucked the napkin into my coat pocket.
“I am not sure, but let’s go on a walk, and figure that out.” suggested Henry, as he offered his hand.
“That sounds wonderful.” I replied as I accepted his hand.
The rest of the day I took Henry to his other favorite places in New York. Including his favorite coffeehouse, where of course he drank more coffee. I felt that I was beginning to see more of Henry’s fun and teasing self, even though he was more serious and grave than he ever was. I also noticed that he looked more alive, less tired and sleepless. He was healing, recovering from what he had experienced, for that I felt truly grateful and relieved.