01 02 03 Reflections: The Broken Bench by the Corner 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Broken Bench by the Corner

I don't remember how I got here. Neither do I recollect the exact moment I reached. The journey from the cremation ground to this corner of the park is a blur. I don’t remember a thing.

But I am here now, lost in my sorrow. The loss is too great. The hollowness is here with me, that smudges everything else. For an indefinite amount of time I stare at the grass around my feet. I vaguely notice an ant making its way through the grass carrying a piece of twig.
Sometime later, another ant follows, and then, another, each following precisely the same path as its predecessor. I follow it with my gaze until it has made its way inside its hill.

I see the tiny flowers, each swaying to the breeze. Their bursting centers holding together delicate petals.  I wonder why is it so difficult to pay attention to detail in day to day life. As I sit here alone, on the Broken Bench, bridled with memories, it is all so easy! It is as though I’m watching things through a microscope.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to shake away my thoughts. My face is hot and red, and the incessant tears do little to cool me down. I finally look up to face the people around.

A large family is here, making most of the fine weather, sharing  snacks and cheerful banter. A group of adolescents is lazing around, legs outstretched, as if there are no problems in the world. There is an amorous couple in the distance -perhaps sharing dreams of tomorrow. A small set of toddlers, tossing and retrieving a ball. Their mothers keeping an eye of precaution, at the same time chatting amongst themselves. All of them seem joyous.

And I, seated here in this inconspicuous corner feel persecuted. I feel wronged, I feel unjustly treated, and I feel jealous. Do others also feel the same way when they are sad? That life is being unfair?

Why it is that other people are happy when I am so miserable? How can they go about their lives, when mine has come to a standstill? How can they laugh, smile, play, while I shed tears? How can they be so oblivious to somebody else’s pain?
-Perhaps, it is that when you cry, you cry alone.

I shrug that thought away, and bury my face in my hands. I allow myself to be engulfed again by memories. A fresh burst of tears wet my palms as I think of those moments that had once made me laugh. All those times I took for granted thinking that they would last forever. The giggles echo in my ears, loud and clear.

I lose track of time. I don’t know for how long I have been sitting like this, when suddenly something light hits my feet. I don’t raise my head and soon the thing is gone. Tiny fingers tug at my hands and I hear a mispronounced “SHOWRRY”.

I finally open my eyes to see who is before me. It’s a little girl of say, three. Her skin is wheatish, she has a squint and curly, unkempt hair.
And although she doesn’t exactly fit into the Johnson’s baby definition of "cute",
that little girl with the squint smiles at me….
                                               …. And I smile back!

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