The old man had come to the same spot, for the last fifteen years of his life every Sunday. The rain or sunshine it didn’t matter. As his feather-light gray hair was blowing over and ruining his morning chore, the comb-over, his wrinkle stricken red rosy cheeks were catching the only sun that had decided to shine in the city for the last week. It made him ecstatic. With a warm face, blown hair, and a desire to open the paper clenched tightly in his left hand he was a queen in the chess game of daily life as he was walking into the park.
He was breezed with anticipation of his Sunday routine as he strolled down the last path to the bench. He had placed his A-list famous scientific ass upon this same bench almost every Sunday he had been there, although he could name a few times he missed for better or for worse. He went through his adjustments as he sat down, glasses, pants, and strap of his bag. As he sat and exhaled he began to dive into the thought of what the hunger eradicating snack he would get today. Ken the second oldest of all his children was going to bring him as his weekly snack, and a discussion topic for after he was through with his paper. They started the tradition of a weekly meeting at the park so Ken could talk to the man that raised him in their hectic lives. Ken proceeded to then add his own spices of tradition by bringing his adoptive father a snack from the bakery his then and short-lived girlfriend was working at. While the girlfriend and her job at the bakery didn’t last for Ken the relentless evolution of their adult snack time did, with a baked treat and a smile.
Ken was the oldest son of this man's five adopted children. He started when he was fifty-four years old, on an adoption spree that went over three years and ended with five children calling him their father. His oldest was an insatiable woman who even though her late adoption, at the age of fifteen, was dependent on him as a father for many years to come. However, this was not the case for Ken or his brother Samson. These men evolved from boys to men at a much quicker pace than anticipated. They were adopted at the age of ten together, and only a month after their older sister Kanani. They remained the only three children for an equal three years. The three years that had passed provided enough time for the processing of what adopting more children was going to take. After the mental conception of another child had comprehended, the old man started making the moves to adopt two more children. The other two children he was looking for happened to be the first two he stumbled upon. Another girl named Blake, and her brother Cooper. With his overflowing family following him to the suburbs of the city they were adopted from, the happiness came with them. The first years had gone so quickly that the second adoption seemed like it was months and not years from the first one. The newly adopted children flourished in a house where the already adopted youth had set foundations in. Blake and her brother Cooper had become entwined with Kanani, and close with Ken and Samson. The older adopted children along with the newly adopted ones became as close as any blood-related family, just missing the ever so key a mother figure, having a slightly famous single studious father, and brimming with more diversity than almost any. Ken and Samson came from the roughest part of the inner eastern edge in the city, spending the majority of their childhood on the literal wrong side of the tracks, they evolved to the families money and quality trying to expand their newly adopted father's limbo for rules. Even though they caught the train over from the wrong side of the tracks their father bent the most with Blake and Kanani but did allow the boys to get away with some of their expressions, especially if it was something they were passionate for, provided good mental expansion, or gave him a little more than a good laugh.
The old man had been driven by his family to be not so focused on what made him famous. He took a long break and as the children slowly left the house he steadily climbed back into, and on top of, all of the newly renowned theories. He had been a staple in many advancements that took place in the last thirty years, even if he wasn’t a developer the ideas were stemmed from his research. He was less worried about the pursuit of research in the categories that had run his life for so long, and he was engulfed by the thoughts of what his theories would mean if they were held as true, and then he snickered. As he was progressing on his thoughts of frequencies entanglement in reality and electrical disturbances he was interrupted by the smell of what he thought was his arriving son and bakery treat. As his head whisked around to pursue the smell, he noticed it was coming from the opposite direction that Ken was supposed to be arriving from. The old man was anticipating his treats arrival fairly shortly. Instead, he provided a different track for his building energy and was going to shift his position on the bench and read an article from the paper he was still grasping not too tightly but clutching close to his heart.
The paper had gathered a yellow hue from its age of what was now pushing thirty years. He had read every article in the paper at least a dozen times, found any mistake that may have been made, yet was still on the edge of his seat over the content of the cover story, which included the fading color photo on the front that had almost turned to black and white. His brain was going over the articles he had the ability to read after he once again finished the reason he read the paper every week, the cover story.
He was not yet decided on what article to finish with as he pulled the paper off the bench and raised it to his face bringing in the appealing picture to his immediate attention. As the old man was contemplating the picture again he noticed something that he had not noticed in the last thirty years, probably because until six days ago he hadn't had the necessary background information.
The three-piece euphorically suited man in the picture, who was surrounded by others clapping, had his attention on one individual alone. The thing he had not noticed before was the bracelet worn by the clapping women’s hands. It drew this man's attention in the picture. It had gained drastic importance. It drew the old mans attention now. It was either the same type, or the exact same bracelet that the old man he had been given just last week by his daughter. He bent his head down to see if in the faded picture he could make out the stamping. This young girl's bracelet was faded with the picture. It was too pixelated to notice that amount of detail. If the same this would be the most important thing the man had ever discovered in the paper he had had and read for the last thirty years. It was on a fist in a crowd full of applause. If he had brought a magnifying glass, or his phone, with him he might be able to decipher if they were the same bracelet or just similar. Almost nothing could get this mans attention off of the newly discovered detail. While he had never regretted leaving his phone for the starting to his Sunday, today he did today.
While today was a nice day with almost no wind whatsoever, it had just gotten harshly sunny. This sun that was shining was so concentrated, blinding, paralyzing as he was caught in the sun blast. It had lit up the apartment building that was being renovated across from the park bench that he was sitting on. While the renovation had been taking place for quite some time without being overly noticeable, it was more so today. It was because one of the trees he sits in front of on his bench had been freshly trimmed. It allowed the sun to shine through much more heavily. As he gazed onto the apartment building being renovated he saw a skewer of light being reflected at the wrong angle. It had not been there previously and he knew what this reflection meant, mostly by the placement. The old man drew in a large breath and started to place the paper in the bag that he had brought with him, as quickly as he could without harming it and its important contents. He still was more focused on the bracelet. He snapped back into the reflection. He had to focus on what lies ahead. He knew what was coming but he must protect the paper above all else. As his other arm reached for his far-sighted glasses set in the side of his bag, he felt a sharp chest pain. He reclined in his seat on the bench as reality began to set in. He was gazing down to what felt like a red-hot iron rod being shoved through his chest but appeared just as a blood pool growing around the center punched hole which had to be millimeters from his heart. He was letting his last few breaths out slowly, trying not to panic. He looked at his watch to try and send one last message to his family. For as long as he knew this was coming for he couldn’t have predicted it worse. All he could hope for now is like it set the way he died in stone, it would set the rest of these historical events into place.
He could feel his lungs filling with warm blood as the ring of the rifle’s shot rained down on the park. As his sight slowly started to be taken over by his resurging pineal gland flooding his brain with Dimethyl-tryptophan. His eyes began to close for the last time as he slowly slid off the bench. The only thing he had the strength to do was clutch the paper tighter in his hand hoping Ken would be the first person to find him, or at least the first person that would question. The others in the park had formed a circle around the dying man. They appeared to not have any concern about also being shot. After one shot it appeared the intended target had been taken out. Nobody immediately recognized him even as famous as he had been and in some circles still was. Just as the first person was relaying the location to the 911 operator, a skinny, but exceptionally fit, well-groomed man holding a bag from the local bakery fully suited up began to pick his pace up towards the circle of people forming around the old man. Just as Ken started towards the line he was barging through the line. People around the man on the ground he stop standing gloomily over the dying soul.
He called his father on the ground.
"Dad... Dad... DAD!" He urged out of his swelling almost closed throat.
The crowd began to move back. As light raindrops came to fall so did most of the bystanders tears. Two people bound by a noticeable love to strangers, being separated for the last time. The goodbye nobody wanted to say as the crowd hel each other closer.
He set down everything he was carrying next to the man on the ground. His hands on the shoulders of the man. His hands gathered warmth from the blood soaked sleeves. They say your life flashes though your eyes when you die. They don't tell you about if someone dies in your arms. Your life, theirs, what the two meant to each other, and the near future fly through your mind in a split second.
"Stay with me" Ken spat as the tears built up in his eyes...
"Pl...Please" He stammered.
The man on the ground lifted the paper with his last breath but didn’t make it all the way to his son’s grasp. He couldn’t muster the phrase his lips were mimicking. As he drew one last gargling breath in the light in his eyes faded. After a minute of no movement, after his last breath, Ken rolled on top of the body. His hands clenched the still warm hands of the man who had been his father. As a police officer, who had watched his mother shot at the age of six, who saw murder much too often, he had never had one that caused him so much pain. As he sat back up he pressed his eyes closed, he couldn't stand to see them without life. He began to cry harder.