Hing Hay Park

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A female voice banters in Chinese. Wind — a cool, light breeze — caresses from the south. A trio of elderly people, two men, a woman, chatter and chortle on a bench across the tiled squares. Shadows of leaves, shade from a tenacious autumn sun, dance on the pavement below.

A plump, thirty-ish woman with auburn waves shuffles in a loose emerald blouse, slumping, her gaze declined to her feet as she totes a plastic to go bag. The motors of passing cars purr, oblivious to her sadness, while a charter van pulls up to a curb. Another vehicle chirps and beeps, the courtesy signal from a kneeling bus, or the familiar warning of a hydraulic lift.

A young man in a dress shirt and slacks, his brunette hair cropped short, reads on the concrete steps beyond, his knees a brace for his elbows, his body eager for words. Near him, an elephantine woman in a paisley mumu and baggy eggplant pants, her hair a bush of snow, holds a pamphlet collarbone height, stabbing at its pages.

Mandarin blasts the air, then goes still.

Two gaunt Asian men in dress shirts and designer blue jeans stroll, one dragging on his cigarette, his elbow cocked high, while the other banters. Even though this is Chinatown and it is lunchtime, the air is odorless, save for residual tobacco smoke. The air now feels cooler -- cold.

Two tween girls pass a third. They ignore her; she doesn't seem to mind.

A siren cries, not nearby. A toddler in a white coat runs ahead of her caregiver, happy and playful, stumbling in joy.

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