It’s 6:56 pm. I’m seated in a corner of Regents Park, with a small water body in front of me. The sound of the paddle boats being cordoned away to one side of the pond fills the air. Just a couple of socially distanced feet away from me, a group of three men sit smoking cigarettes and taking in a foreign language I presume to be French.
It took me a long time to find this spot. An hour and 4 kilometers to be exact. It has been a lazy Sunday evening — with my parents away for a garden soiree, I decided to have a little one man picnic of my own. I packed a bag with all the essentials and non — essentials ; Kindle, a bottle of water and a canned Gin & Tonic I’d picked up when I went grocery shopping last week. With some 1975 buzzing in my ears, I set out on this warm London evening with the perfect plan — to settle down on a piece of shade in the park and read.
I had a spot in mind, but as I approached this particular piece of grass, I changed my mind. The pond I’d seen when I used to come jogging seemed like a better option. And, so I set out to find it. Parks are confusing, and getting lost in them is almost too easy. I walked past the boys playing football and the men playing cricket. I pumped my fist in the direction of two men who pointed at my Arsenal jersey and cheered. Lovely blokes. I walked past fellow picnickers and joggers ran past me, as I tried to locate this particular spot. I entered a flower garden I didn’t know existed, and contemplated settling down there, but the image of the pond kept me going
I wasn’t lost, I just didn’t know where I was. I walked down a trail that looked familiar, and across a bridge that told me I was close to the pond. I opened my G&T can, and took a cautionary sip. Surprisingly smooth. Arctic Monkeys had replaced 1975, and by now I was having fun wandering.
I finally reached the spot, and settled down under a tree. But not for too long — a dozen pigeons had chosen the same spot to enjoy their weekend. The pond was peaceful, but it had seemed better in my imagination.
The sun has set, it’s a little chilly now and I’m happy. The Kindle still lies unopened in my bag, I need to pee and I can’t help but wonder if I should have just kept walking.