There were too many distractions at home, so he went to the park. Settling on a bench, he pulled out his MacBook and began writing. A soft warm breeze brought him the scent of cut grass and summer flowers. He could hear children laughing, a dog barking and distant voices. It seemed the perfect background. A family of cyclists went by. The sun catching their bikes’ spinning wheels caused him to glance up. He watched them heading around the corner, the two children trying to overtake their parents.
He looked down again and read the last line. The words blurred before him and for a moment he couldn’t remember why his side character was suggesting they all head to the park. His fingers landed on the delete key and stayed there. His eyes flickered up and he saw a teenager on a skateboard with a border collie running alongside. Looking down again, he deleted that line and instead typed in what he had meant to say.
A whistle blew from somewhere behind him and it was followed by the sounds of a football game ending. He looked over his shoulder, but couldn’t see anything through the clump of tall bushes. Flexing his shoulders, he turned back to his novel and began again. Everything was firmly fixed in his head and found it easy to write. The sound of a tennis match and victorious cries drifted over and he raised his head again.
Painfully, he became away that the background noises of the park were increasing. He looked around and noticed that more children – many in school uniforms- were crowding around the play area. There were more dog walkers, who were being forced to stop and talk to each other as their dogs interacted. People cycling back from work or wherever, sped passed and it seemed that the whole town had descended on the park.
He saved his work, closed his MacBook and put it back in his bag. Getting up, he ran a list of other places through his head and deciding he was thirsty headed to an Artistic Café that was half hidden on a corner next to the art gallery. Arriving there, he found it almost empty. He choice a table at the back and got everything out. He had just plugged his MacBook into a plug socket labelled ‘customer use only’ when a tried looking waitress filled his vision.
He ordered a black coffee and a slice of walnut cake. She nodded, not bothering to write his order down and walked back to the counter. He turned to the screen before him and re-read the last few paragraphs. He noticed a couple of spelling mistakes and one miss use of tense. He fixed them and re-reading the last line once more, began again.
The waitress returned and mumbling a thanks, he carried on. He had almost forgotten his cake and coffee having become caught up in his main character’s monologue, when the door opened. He twisted his head and felt a joyous breath of fresh air on his face. He saw a cluster of art students cramming themselves through the door and to a table. Their noisy voices rose and fall with laughter and sniggers.
He drink his lurk warm coffee and shoved the cake into his mouth. His eyes flickered over the words on the white screen and he’s inner voice give life to the next few lines. His fingers darted over the keyboard, filling more of the white space. His ears rang with the art students’ voice and he turned around to scowl at them.
The waitress was hovering over their table, looking happier. The door opened again more students tumbled in. He saved his work and closed the MacBook. He put everything away and went to the counter. Having paid his bill he left and walked to the library. However, mere minutes after arriving there, finding a quiet desk and setting up, the oppression of the library got to him.
He wasn’t sure why the too full bookcases and the smell of slowly decaying paper made him claustrophobic. Nor why there had to be dim lighting and the sense that everyone around him was trying to be as silent as possible. He left and was greeted outside by a huge relief. He went home, deciding that his kitchen would just have to do.