Every evening, at the start of the sunset when the sun’s reflection began to turn from yellow to pink, my parents go on a walk. They pull on their jackets-my mothers is blue and fuzzy, my fathers is grey and worn-and they leave the house. I can see them from my window, walking in circles around the neighborhood and talking to each other. Sometimes they smile. Sometimes they laugh. Sometimes they argue. But, by the time the sun’s reflection began to turn from pink to purple, they came into my sight, holding hands, and they finished their walk. They came inside. My father helped my mother take off her jacket, and she helped him take out his. They did this every evening.
My parents came to California a few years after graduating college in New York. They admired the weather and the culture, they lied. It was my father who told me the real reason he came.
The sunsets. Their peaceful nature, the way they were simple but managed to stop everyone in their tracks for a few minutes each evening. Everyone, people who were driving home from work to those who were stuck inside an office building, looking out their windows.
“Wow, the sunset is pretty today, isn’t it?” My mother said to my father one day when they had just met each other. My father began to discuss it with such passion, my mother told me. His eyes glimmered underneath New York’s cloud-covered sunset. Underneath the clouds, he dreamt of California. The setting rays he had only seen in pictures.
Years later on their first evening in their new home in Laguna, they were unpacking their boxes. My father was frustrated, talking to the moving company who had lost a few boxes. It was my mother who suggested taking an evening walk. He looked up for a moment, saw her, and smiled, nodding. He remembers the reason he had moved. The reason he had lined his apartment in New York with posters of the Californian sunsets. It quickly became a tradition. Nearly every evening, my mother and father went on a walk.
One evening, when I was fifteen years old, my mother and father went on a walk. They had become busy recently and hadn’t been going every day. I half paid attention to them as I attempted to study my biology textbook. I didn’t notice them walking stiffly, side-by-side, not speaking to each other. I didn’t notice that when they came home, they weren’t holding hands.
The next day, they didn’t go on a walk. Neither did they the day after that. Finally, nearly a week later, they did. I was waiting anxiously for my biology test grade, and couldn’t concentrate on any other homework. I looked out my window.
The sun was setting, and the sun’s reflection began to turn from yellow to pink. My mother and father walked stiffly next to each other. My father was on the phone with a colleague, my mother looked to the side. A few minutes later, another couple passed by. They had moved to our neighborhood a few months ago. The wife reminded me of a lot of old pictures of my mom. The sun began to turn from pink to purple as they walked, hand in hand with each other to their doorway. I heard laughter from them as I watched my parents walk soundlessly inside our house. Their door and our doors shut at the same time, with a very different atmosphere in both of the houses. I watched them smiling through the window. I heard my parents go to separate rooms and shut their doors.
For years to come, I watched dozens of sunsets turn from yellow to pink to purple. I watched our neighbors grow older, and have children. They went on walks every evening, while my parents delved into their separate lives soundlessly, leaving me behind.