A man sits on the
bank of the Seine, perusing the latest issue of a French newspaper. His red and striped sweater is
noticeably conspicuous among a wave of commuting Parisians dressed in black
monochrome. Instead of finishing his croissant, he tosses it to the cobblestone,
where it is pecked away at by a flock of famished sparrows. The man puts down
the newspaper and relishes at the reflection of the limestone apartments
created by the river, as the morning sun arcs over the skyline. The man is lost
in the beauty of the daybreak, until he looks up from his newspaper, noticing a
tourist snap a picture of him. Caught red-handed, the tourist turns away and
whispers to her friend, “Is that Waldo?”
Waldo reaches into his
pocket and retrieves a pack of cigarettes, placing one in his mouth. He cradles
the lighter close to his mouth but hesitates. Put it out before it puts you out. Waldo returns the cigarette back
into the pack. The morning peace has been interrupted. With a sigh, he tosses
euros on the table and leaves.
“Where did it all go
wrong, Waldo?” the tourist cried. Waldo traversed along the boulevard out of
earshot to hear the query, but the answer to that question had eluded even him.
For five years, while the world was busy searching for him, Waldo was busy
searching for himself.
As Waldo walked down
the streets lined with patisseries and boulangeries, Waldo thought of the past.
He thought of Wizard Whitebeard and the almost humorous calamity of him losing
his sacred scrolls. He thought of Wilma and the joy he had with her always
stopping Waldo’s evil twin, Odlaw, from committing mischievous acts, and he
thought of his dog, Woof, and how he always seemed to lose his bone and the joy
of Woof’s face every time he returned it to him. Waldo let out a small chuckle
when reminiscing of the past. For the last half-hour, Waldo was so engrossed in
his memories that he did not realize that he had been sitting at a bench
overlooking the Seine.
As Waldo sat on the
bench, he began piecing the pieces together. After settling in Paris, Waldo had
not been satisfied — as the adventured dwindled away, so did his happiness.
Over those five years, Waldo slowly lost the foundations of his character. He
was not Waldo because he dressed in red and white. He was Waldo because he was
never complacent. On each journey, Waldo sacrificed a life of comfort to
stimulate his readers to search for the answers to his questions. Waldo was an
inspiration, and he could not believe he had given up the title so easily.
Waldo picked himself up
from the bench. By this time, the sun was creeping underneath the horizon.
Although the day was nearly over, his mind had been cleared, and he knew what
he must do. As Waldo walked into the night, he began plotting his next