he stayed. Night began to creep into the sky like the daddy long legs had crept across the jungle gym. There was no sun to be seen, but the grayness of the sky grew darker. He had sat brooding too long and his had missed the opportunity to walk home. Darkness would be upon him soon, and there was no light to help him find the old house on Maple Street. He was going to have to spend the night in the park. It wasn’t the first night he had missed the chance to walk home, but it never got easier to try to sleep in the blackness of the night. It was always a restless s leep at best. He hadn’t seen any animals other than the insects or spiders, but he could hear movement if he strained his ears in the silent dark. Invisible creatures scurried through the leaves and grass in the distance as the first hours of night surrounded the park. Maybe they were rats. Maybe they weren’t. Broken sleep would come as Don tried to sleep on the cold, metal bench. He thought about lying on the slide as he did earlier, but he dared not move during the night. He somehow felt safe in the park at night, but he felt as if moving would be fatal. There was no rhyme or reason to these thoughts, but these odd instincts were all he had in which to trust. Don awoke. There was no telling if he had fallen asleep for hours or seconds. There was no moon or stars in the sky anymore, so he had absolutely no indicator. A random pattern of dozing and waking would continue until a gray dawn finally came, ushering in a new day of wandering around the park and eventually going home or searching for some old canned food in the empty houses in his old neighborhood. So Don stared into the blackness around him, waiting for exhaustion to close his eyes for him. Maybe sleep would take him and maybe it wouldn’t. The only thing he knew for sure was that the park will be there for him when the blackness finally gave way to a gray dawn. The park will always be there.