Two days ago, I stumbled upon the most magical place. There’s a park close to where I intern in downtown Toronto where I often go for walks. I turned off the main path for a moment, away from the hustle and bustle of the street and found mother nature’s niche: a wide plain carpeted in yellow autumn leaves and guarded by three large maple trees.
I was immediately enchanted. I tried my best to capture it with my phone but it didn’t do it justice. So I planned to go back the next day, better prepared.
In the morning, I got ready intentionally for my trip to the magical place. I picked a bright red shirt to contrast the carpet of yellow autumn leaves. I packed my camera and a berry lipstick.
The time finally came during my lunch break. I was so excited. The sun was radiant. The air was crisp but tepid. I was feeling adventurous. I ordered food from a burrito place I’d never been too and planned to eat it under one of the huge maple trees in the magical place.
But then I walked out from the restaurant with someone else’s burrito. I swear it was an honest mistake. Same order, wrong number. I grabbed it after a short 2 minute wait and confidently walked out the door. Nobody even flinched. Nobody stopped me. By the time I had realized what I’d done, I was already half way down the street. Oh well, this just added to my adventure.
I made my way to the magical place, retracing yesterday’s steps. There were some people walking through the area, but it didn’t matter as long as they kept moving. I had to eat before I started taking pictures anyways.
But out of the corner of my eye, I spotted an offbeat character. I can still remember him so clearly: a tall, older, white male with pale blue jeans and a black hat. He zigzagged through the magical place at an awkward pace until, he reached the back bushes, placed his hands in front of his waist, and stood perfectly still. Too still.
I hesitated. Was he…? And then I saw the gush of liquid.
He was pissing on the magical place.
I scurried away, disgusted and in shock. I had to find a place to sit and eat my stolen burrito that was as far away as possible from this horrible man. But everything looked so dirty. Who had slept on that park bench? What animal had peed by that picnic table?
I finally sat down on an empty bench. At least there was still lunch to comfort me. I unwrapped the burrito from it’s packaging and took my first bite into mystery. Turns out it’s original owner had a similar palette to mine. But I couldn’t help nitpicking at every little thing inside. It was alright I guess but it wasn’t mine. I stomached most of it and threw out the rest.
My thought was to go home, write about this strange experience and end with the life lesson: the world is never a magical place. Or maybe something about karma. If I had turned back to return that burrito, I would’ve never see that man pissing in the magical place. I would’ve never known and it would still be magical.
But instead I chose to end it by going back to the magical place and taking pictures anyways. Maybe not as liberally as I had originally intended. With new found wisdom, I didn’t lie down on the ground or sit by the huge tree. I captured it the way an admirer would. And it was well worth it.
The world is not a magical place, and it’s important to remember that. But it is beautiful. Don’t let anything stop you from appreciating it.