The Bench... flashfiction by Dennis Lowery

The Story Behind the Story…

I spotted this picture of an old–seemingly forgotten–bench and wondered about all the people that had sat upon it long ago. And it looked so worn and forlorn… I wanted to give it a story. Because stories matter….

Here’s what some people thought of the story (which you’ll find beneath their comments):

“A beautiful story – short but captivating and woven with real emotions behind it.” –Michael Koontz

“Nice. I had a hard time seeing it. Eyes were clouding up.” –Mike Trani

“You really are gifted, Dennis. This is a touching piece.” –Jim Z.

“I keep coming back to read this. So beautiful.” –Dawn Hart Jackson

“Excellent!” –Kevin Baker

“For all abandoned places of abandoned loves, I say thanks for this one.” –Jean-Michel Dumay

“Reminded me so very much of my parents who loved each other completely, until their dying day. I’m crying…” –Nina Anthonijsz

“Excellent writing, very poignant and yet it made me feel good as well! Thank you for sharing your flash fiction!” –Rebecca Harden-Heick

“Very heartfelt!” –Bernice Joe

“It really is exquisite.” –Raul Interiano

The Story…

They’d grown too old for their walks in the park, but he still remembered where they’d met decades ago. On that splendid spring morning… the finest kind, his life changed. His mind drifted back:

Dropping his newspaper, the young man caught the leash as it flashed by him.

“Thank you!” The young lady was winded from the chase. “Bad boy,” she shook her finger at the dog now hiding under the bench behind his legs. The morning sun framed her perfectly; beams glinted on blonde hair. She was as long and lean as her dog was short and stout.

“For a bulldog, he was moving pretty fast,” he handed her the end of the leash.

“I don’t know how he does it,” she liked the young man’s smile and the dimple that played as he grinned at her, “with his stubby legs.” She motioned to the bench, “May I join you and catch my breath?”

He had slid over, making room for her. That’s how the real story of his life began. The memory faded, and the present returned. He watched the slow rise and fall of her chest. They each had breathed countless breaths together since that moment decades ago. The world has changed so much, he thought, I hope young lovers still sit on our bench. The old man held her hand as she slept. His eyes closed and head nodded as he slipped into a dream. They were young again, sitting and watching many suns rise and many more set. If he only could do it all again. With her.

The nurse entered the room and quietly checked on them. Sadly shaking her head as she left the room, knowing the woman’s time was near. And what then for this sweet old man?

Asleep now, he smiled as he dreamed. It seemed to travel through him to her hand, from there to reach her face, and though her eyes never opened, she smiled, too.

Things change, the center does not always hold. But not in their dream.

A year later they reunited and their spirits are there still today. On that bench, holding hands, but their whispers can only be heard by those truly in love. Their hearts can hear them.

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Every picture tells a story… don’t it?