People hung hammocks between trees and suspended their disbelief in novels. Cyclists rolled past, talking to each other over their shoulders. Parents pushed sleeping babies in strollers while sipping iced coffees and slushies. Couples held hands and shielded their eyes from the afternoon sun. It tossed silver glitter onto the blue water of the bay.
Not a cloud was in the sky: Mt. Rainier loomed white and massive to the south. The Olympic Mountains, also capped with snow, rose in the west, its jagged ridges carving a grey-blue line on the horizon. Trees full of green leaves covered the islands in the distance.
The man was wearing baggy pants and dirty work boots. Over this was an oversized and puffy winter parka, tattered at the edges and the hood pulled over his head. A duffel bag that was half his size hung from his left shoulder; as he walked he listed to the right to maintain his balance. People gave him wide berth as they walked past him. He held his head low.
He dropped his bag on the boardwalk and sat down. Sitting against a post, his back to the brilliant sun and shimmering water, he zipped open the duffel. From it he pulled a brown paper sack. He used one hand to rustle through the contents within.
He pulled out a small item wrapped in white. With expectation on his face he opened the package. Leaning back, he took a bite from the chocolate-covered ice cream bar. A small smile crossed his lips.