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Don Yarber Don Yarber
Recommendations: 42

Park Bench in the Snow


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She had a friend.

I wrote this as an exercise in another discussion.


Snow flakes as big as pancakes started drifting around me. The bench I sat on was warmer than the snow, so the flakes melted as soon as they hit it, leaving little wet spots on the green slats of the bench. I had planned on staying here in this park tonight, there was no vacancy at the homeless shelter, and I was going to miss the warmth and the meal. Even though I had slept on the couch there last night, I was looking forward to keeping warm there again tonight. The man with the bow tie and the parrot on his shoulder had said that there just wasn't going to be any room tonight.


I guess I forgot to make my reservations at that fine hotel called Homeless. Oh well, this park bench would do for a couch, and at least I wouldn't have to listen to the infernal squawking of that danged parrot. I had my topcoat that I had taken from the lifeless body of my friend, Jake. I knew that he would have wanted me to have it, and when he died in his sleep I simply took it. I would have taken his shoes too if the policeman hadn't chased me away. Danged cops, always putting their noses into other peoples beeswax.


Across from the bench where I sat I noticed a young woman walking slowly down the concrete path that lead to the playground. She stopped by the swings and stood there as if watching someone play. I wondered if she was remembering her own childhood or her own child. Her head swung back and forth as if she was watching the swing move back and forth through the falling snow. Then I heard the child laughing.


The sound was like the tinkling of a music box, a light, enchanting melody. I looked carefully to see if perhaps there was a child in the vacant playground, but there was none. So where the heck was this laughter coming from? Then I saw what appeared to be a flash of brilliant light, so bright it made me close my eyes for a second. When I opened them I thought I could see the outline of a child, a young boy, sitting in the swing, arching backwards as the swing moved forwards, and arching forward as the swing moved back.


I could see him! At first he was just a blur and his laughter was just a tinkling music box. But now I could distinctly hear his laughter. I could clearly see his face. His lips were wide and his mouth was open, revealing nearly perfect teeth.


The young woman stood watching him too. There was something vaguely familiar about her. She wasn't dressed for the times; her coat was longer and plainer than today's fashion would be. It looked like something out of the forties. She had a babushka tied around her head.


Why did she look so familiar to me? The face? The way she wore her hair? The sadness in her eyes? What was it that I recognized in this sad, quiet young lady?


Slowly the image of the child grew dimmer, fading, melting like the snowflakes on the bench. There had been something familiar about the child, too, now that I thought about it. It was as if I had met that young man somewhere in my checkered past. My eyes grew dimmer; I was getting sleepier by the second. Right before I tumbled headfirst off of the bench I realized who the young woman reminded me of, it was my Mother!


When they took my lifeless body away, the swing stopped moving. The child was dead.


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