Saturday, April 13, 2013

the bench

the bench

A film photo taken and developed by me for my photo class.

Here is the short story I wrote to go along with the photo:

Funny how one object can hold the weight of the entire world—whether that weight be of the world changing or of the world falling apart—in the memory of one’s mind. It was a quiet sunny day, a cold, fall evening, a misting night with the stars beginning to twinkle into existence; it was a million different days and nights for the little wooden bench at the back of the park, with its rusting nails and chipping paint hanging on for dear life and weathering bark showing more of its skin than the paint that was fighting a losing battle.

A quiet, sunny day found the bench gazing upon two people, a man and a woman, walking up to it hand in hand. Her hair was curled and she wore a white dress with lace and flowers, and he wore glasses, a newsboy cap, a button down shirt, and a nervous smile. They sat down on the bench close to each other, the land silent save for the light wisps of wind giving hints about the future. The man stood up suddenly, that wind twirling the tuft of hair underneath his cap flirtatiously. He held onto his girl’s hand and led her a short distance from the bench. He spoke softly. The bench felt the same tickle from the wind and heard a bit of that future insight, and just like it heard, it watched as the man knelt down on one knee and pulled out a small, light pink box from inside his coat pocket. The girl gasped and started crying, but the bench knew from its lifetime of observations that these weren't sad tears. After several moments of the man talking and the girl wiping away tears, they sat again on the happy bench, she resting her head on his shoulder and him resting his head on hers. The three watched as the sun began to set on the gleaming city lights before them.

The sun was beginning to set on a cold, fall evening and the bench saw a girl walking towards it from the right, chatting away loudly on a cell phone in some language the bench didn’t understand. She had a bag over her shoulder and wore high heels and her feet jumped quickly one in front of the other as if in a race to a finish line. The bench felt its wood aching, wanting to let her rest on it. The view of the city was beautiful that day, with hues of red and orange and yellow glittering through the fog, and the bench knew, for it was wise and saw many people, that the girl needed a glimpse of those city lights and needed to be held within their aura. She needed just a moment to be reminded of the ground she came from and of the beauty of that ground. But as it was thinking about this the girl came and went. It saw her shadow leaving and then she was gone and only little stars began to twinkle from her trail.

The stars twinkled into existence as faint clouds cried over a darkening world. An old woman sat crying on the old bench, her tears mingling with raindrops dampening her graying hair. The bench too felt the weight of her sorrow caving in on it, and wished, as it had a million times before to a million different people, it could tell the woman to just look at the beautiful city, with its raindrop races sliding down every window and the stars being spotlights for every person who looked towards the hill where the bench stayed. It longed to pick up its stools and wrap around the woman, shield her from the rain and comfort her. But she just held her face in her hands, never looking at a city that held a lifetime of memories for her. If only she knew how many lifetimes the bench had seen and how life was still beautiful. She didn't notice the rain whispering thoughts of the morning.

No one knew quite like how the bench knew. It knew the city. It knew the people in it. It saw forever stretched out like it did not know time. And it knew that despite the good and the bad that people thought would change their lives forever, those things were only a progression to another day and another night, another year, another lifetime of memories, another lifetime of chances taken and chances missed.

Funny how one object can hold the weight of the entire world—and yet, that weight did not sag its beams. It only left dents and scratches and paint chips and the bench knew that the city would continue, even if it—though it could stretch out the timelines of generations of people it knew—knew it would one day too lose the battle.


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