The world can be a scary place now more than ever. Granted my life, as a bench in this park facing the endless ocean is under no threat. It does get lonely though, like right now I haven’t seen anyone in one month. Now that I am alone I’m left to talk to the grass, but they’re suspicious creatures. They prefer sticking to themselves. Of course there’s the other park benches, but we’re too far away to have meaningful conversations.
But I am glad I have your stories with me.
You may think I have barely seen anything. Well you are wrong there are the football, volleyball and badminton games, runners, cyclist I get to watch every day. I often meet Parrots and Pigeon they’re not as friendly. Proud little birds, but I’ve seen too many of them come and go. They only make me laugh now. Sometimes the sparrows stop by too but over the years their numbers have reduced. Hope humans do something to save them.
You see, most people use me for conversation. And when their conversations are over, they tend to leave behind parts of themselves with me. While no one has left behind a prosthetic hand or a leg (so far) that would have made for a great pun, they do leave bags, umbrella and books and maybe even pieces of their thought. I’ve heard more laughters and cries than any room walls and I’ve heard the sound of a lot of hearts breaking. It’s funny, most wouldn’t spare a second thought to my existence, but I probably know more about them than they realize. When the weather changes and the cold air is punctuated by laughter and excited chattering about something other than how hot it is, I feel my spirits rise too. It means there’s going to be more stories for me to collect.
And I’ll hold on to them. The stories have kept me going all this while, even as I grow another year old, and another shade lighter. I keep these pieces tucked away in a corner of my cracks. Some come back, years later, to collect their pieces. Some don’t. Some, well, try to find the parts they’ve lost but they don’t know where to find me. I want to tell them that I’m right here, but I can’t. And so I have their pieces. I never let them rust.
Maybe they do it deliberately. The people come here talk, share with me or with their loved ones and grow and find that they’ve outgrown parts of themselves which they shed only for me to collect. This is a kind of growth that does not stop. It comes voluntarily – first with moving away from things that doesn’t let you evolve to a better you, second with learning and third with giving the old parts of you for safekeeping. I like to think I have this very important job, besides being a great place to take pictures. And maybe we only grow because we know that we haven’t lost those parts of ourselves that we didn’t think were worth keeping. We’ve just relocated them.
But what do I know.
I’m just a bench in the park.