Clothing Optional

Clothing Optional (500Words, Round 3, Day 14, 3/1/18)

The air was crisp as the couple strolled down the sidewalk. Their linked hands swayed slightly with every step, and they walked with synchronized steps. He squeezed her hand slightly as they came up to Don’t Walk sign at an intersection, and she turned to smile at him.

This walk was a part of their routine, part of their relationship. It happened like clockwork every Saturday and had for the last 50 years. They’d only missed their Saturday Stroll a handful of times over the years. There was the time he was in the hospital, and the time she’d broken her foot earlier in the day, and the time when they’d been stuck on a delayed flight to New York. The stroll was important to them both, and they prioritized it. They’d step out at 3 pm, regardless of the weather (“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only poor planning,” he’d always say), for their afternoon adventure. The location and route changed depending on circumstances, and everything else stayed the same.

When it was their turn, he gave her hand another squeeze and they set off across the street. Today’s route took them down a tree-lined street full of larger than necessary houses. Each lawn they passed was painstakingly manicured and the sidewalk was free of leaves despite the season. The houses seemed almost decorative, as if they were props in a movie, with no sign of inhabitants. She didn’t like neighborhoods like this (“Why have a big house and yard if you’re not going to mess it up with love?” she would say), preferring urban scenes with busy apartment complexes filled with noisy children. He didn’t mind them. The quiet was nice sometimes, and walking through them helped him appreciate what they had.

As they rounded a corner, he squeezed again and stopped abruptly. Sitting on the ground, right in the middle of the sidewalk, was a little boy. A naked little boy. The child was sitting there as calm as could be. His spindly legs were crossed criss-cross-applesauce style, and his hands were folded and rested on his calves. He smiled up at the couple, clearly not at all embarrassed by his nakedness.

“Aaron, what is it?”
“There’s a boy, Sonya. Sitting on the sidewalk. Naked.”
“A little boy – he must be only five or six – sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk up ahead without a stitch of clothing on him.”
“What’s he doing? I don’t hear anything.”
“Just sitting? Is he upset?”
“He’s sitting, and smiling, and is 100% naked.”
“And he’s alone?”
“Unless you count the two of us, Sonya.”
“As we don’t likely know the little naked boy I don’t think we count.”
“Then yes, he’s alone.”
“We need to check on him, Aaron. We’re not going to just leave him here.”
“Of course. Better us than someone unsavory.”

With another squeeze, the couple walked closer to the little boy. When they were within a few feet of him, Aaron gave Sonya another squeeze and they stopped. Sonya squeezed back and Aaron spoke.

“Are you ok, little one?”

*This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons real or imagined is unintentional

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