The Bench

Without a doubt, this was the most beautiful place in the park.  The trees were different heights, different colours and had different characters.  Yes, the trees had characters.  Some were upright and sturdy, some were bowed and conciliatory looking.  Others spread as far as they could, attempting to take over any available space.  The grass was usually a deep shade of green, except when it was covered in snow and, even then, it glistened like stars, so you didn’t mind.  The single path that wound its way through the trees was a pale grey and contrasted well with nature’s colours.

Beside the path stood a lone bench.  Made of wood, in the typically functional style of the urban park, it offered the ambler a place to rest before carrying on to further delights.  It gave you an uninterrupted view of the green, brown, yellow and red foliage which swayed, hypnotising you into a peaceful state.  Plain as it was, no-one would call it ordinary.  Lovers would sit there, planning their future or making up from the argument of a few hours before.  Children would stop there with their parents to take a drink that was always carried in that huge bag that one of them had over their shoulder, or to work up some new energy before rocketing off along the path to a new adventure.  Couples, or friends, of advanced years would lower their aching bones onto the forgiving wood, giving their joints a chance to recover before making the effort to reach the car park and their ride home.  Teenagers would gather round and on it to hold their meeting, in which little was discussed and nothing was resolved – just a sense of camaraderie prevailed.

And in the night?  Who knew?  Lost children, who had wandered, unfound, for years – perhaps centuries – in an effort to locate whoever had left them there without realising.  Dogs, taken to a place far from their home and left to fend for themselves, but ever returning to that place in the hope that they would be remembered.  The lover who had anticipated a rendezvous in order to run away to the perfect life, only to be disillusioned and left to pine away.

That bench knows things.  The wood in it keeps a thousand, thousand secrets,

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