Benches

Whenever you find yourself in a fight or a tear-jerking goodbye, and you need to conceal your feelings, it is hard to decide how to do so.

There is no rulebook, there is no guide that helps you, and it is by your own will that you learn to hide the truth behind a perfect mask devoid of any emotion or preference.

Now all of this is true, but I was going to prove it wrong…


As I stalked down the grainy sidewalk, my eyes burning behind their lids, I thought of nothing but the pure resentment I felt for those who caused me pain. I felt the betrayal hitting me full force now, overwhelming my body. Tremors rocked my every step; so violent I had to sit down to regain control. I sat on a cold wooden city bench and thought of irony.

Many times when I would see people sitting on the plain, ordinary wooden benches that swarmed any modern metropolis, I thought of the reason the people were sitting there. No doubt the cleanliness of the benches were near zero, a deterrent in its own that had kept me away until today.

Not only was sanitation an issue, but also the placement of the benches was always…precarious. The common benches were always over the edge of safe for me, never quite out of the way of oncoming people traffic but never really a place to be alone. It seemed as though sitting on such a bench was like sending an invitation to the world, welcoming strangers eyes to look you over and evaluate your character in the amount of time it took them to walk by. To assess your well being, knowing nothing of your life struggles and accomplishments, with nothing but the rubric of normalcy in their minds.

I cocked my head to the side and squinted, I tried to imagine the lonely old man with his ratty overcoat and gray liver- spotted head was sitting on the bench waiting for his daughter or wife. And when they met they would go out to lunch and talk about the past. I would picture the middle aged woman with spiky blonde hair- browning at the roots- and a cigarette in hand was waiting for the love of her existence to come from behind and whisk her off her feet in a single breath taking kiss.

As I would dream these wonderful ideas, I would be walking away from the wooden fantasies, never knowing the outcome of my daydreams. But now I found d myself sitting on such a bench, picturing a new scene. I was slowly discovering that I was wrong in my dreams all along. The wooden benches I had once used as the anchor to my thoughts of happy ever after were shattered. These park inspired seats were nothing but a gathering place for misery; you could see it in the chipped armrests and rainy gray pigeons that surrounded the vicinity. A new realization began to come over me.

Had I not sat down without a side thought of the sanitation of the bench? Hadn’t I just fallen into the seat, lazily stretching out my legs in the way of oncoming walkers, without shame or acknowledgement of their presence?

Dumbfounded, I gently shook my head, because in that moment I felt completely and utterly alone. As if my invitations had been denied by the entire world.





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