The Bench

The breeze felt nice; it was warm and sweet like a comforting hug from a concerned stranger. That’s what the dog thought. The wind flew through the park in waves, crashing and breaking against the buckets of trees and the smaller, more mobile trees with less branches. Hank, the sheepdog, rested for a moment before he returned to his rightful companion, close, but not entirely forgetting the small animal that had climbed high above into the thickly barked tree.

Hank’s chase was watched from far away across the park, by a man sitting on the left side of a perfectly worn green bench. Hank was a distraction, an escapade that took a man’s mind on a journey far from the impending destruction he was currently in; his mind was momentarily lost from his problems, and for those few moments Hank yipped and yelled, not a single thought accrued in the man’s mind about the woman sitting next to him.

She watched the man, watch the dog, watch the squirrel. She despised the situation, disgusted that a dog attracted more of his attention than she, but in her deepest reflections, she was glad that for a brief moment she did not love this man anymore. She coughed, on purpose, but without actually having the sensation of needing to cough.

They had been together, whatever that means, but now the only thing they seemed to share was this bench. While neither of them knew it, they were destined to be together, but destiny apparently had changed her mind a few weeks ago. They were held together by the false promises they shared in their time together; the idea of one another fit perfectly inside the ambitions within, but the weight of reality and life refused to let their dreams take form. So, there they were, trapped on that park bench waiting for something to happen.

“I guess, I jus-”

“I know, me too.” She said, unknowingly.

“It’s terrifying.” He said, fearlessly.

There was silence, and stillness, and that familiar breeze crashed upon them once more. The setting sun provided a golden hue that reflected back towards the couple by a canopy of emerald trees. Hank was now back at home, watching TV at the foot of a bed. The woman took her hand off of the man’s, and stared restlessly at the golden pond before them. The man glanced at her, hoping to see frustration, as that would be a sign of hope, but nevertheless, he deduced nothing but a self-inflicting insecurity at his inept ability to be with a woman he adored so ferociously. Before another word was said, the sun shrugged its shoulders, and sank below the dying line. They walked away from the bench, leaving nothing except a withering hope. They walked towards their respective cars, growing in distance. She turned her back effortlessly to him, and he watched as she moved towards her car, hoping she might turn around, and give a look of potential. She did not.

He gathered himself in his own car, where his hands clasped the wheel at 10 and 2 without the engine running. His vision was blinded by the taillights of a car pulling away into the night, the darkness, and unknown. He became still and blurred, and as the silence of his mind grew into the surrounding air. A single tear began to fall, just as he did, until it would be wiped away, just as he was. It took a moment before the engine would run, and as it did, his left hand took the top of the wheel, and his right hung in his lap, coolly. He began his journey home, and images of her laugh echoed inside his beaten heart, while a false shell of indifference and detachment beat out.

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