A Bench, My Bench, Your Bench
I came across this pic on-line this morning while bypassing the ever-growing grim news that saturates the web. At first, it reminded me of a point in my life, a period of time where I felt it was me against the world. It was a couple of years before my divorce which I not only noticed the darkness closing in on me, but I actually felt that darkness. Anyone who has ever went through such a gut wrenching, heartbreaking intrusion into one’s personal life, can relate.
But enough of that grim period, the bench, ah yes, the bench, Often big enough to sit 3-4 people, I would sit as far left of it as I could, always with the hope that some lone figure would appear blocks away and that figure would become more clearer to me as it neared. I mentioned this because I myself relied on the darkness itself along with an isolated street lamp and often a bench to sit, in my attempt to forget. I wanted someone to walk past me and then miraculously turn back to face me, to ask, “Are you okay?” For the most part, no one asked, so while sitting, I wrote in my journal, mostly about what my family was going through, I wrote on a notepad, story ideas and such.
Sometimes in the blackness of the night, I would walk and walk until I would find “the perfect spot” to sit, there had to be a source of light of course to write. My normal routine was to leave my bed, usually after midnight and drive to Galveston’s seawall, as I’ve written about here previously. The first few times, I would open my journal with my black ink pen and let my thoughts rush the length of my arm, through my hand onto paper, the words to be baptized by my tears. Over time, I became more aware of what was taking place around me, an ocassional moth fluttering under the beam of the street lamp, a gull passing overhead and that stray cat, the one which hide in the darkness, just inches beyond the lights beam, it waited and would pounce at that fluttering moth, a tid bit of an appetizer.
I so desperately hoped that someone would come along, sit beside me and just listen, but no one did,until a police officer on patrol drove by and stopped to walk over and question my presence here at this hour of night. I’m sure he thought I was homeless and after my brief explanation, he to acknowledge that he himself had just went through what I had gone through, informing me that the work/life of a law enforcement officer is never easy on a relationship/marriage.
Over the next few weeks, months, my spur of the moment urge to drive south on hwy 45, became a place to escape, to put my mind in a creative space, to absorb all around me while filling pages with words, describing what I was feeling and forming characters and distinct situations they would be in, while often blending pieces of my life into the stories. Question, do I consider what I’ve written as fact or fiction?
Over time that stray cat wandered closer to me as I tossed a morsel of something for it to eat. Over time this pleasant escape became more of light than darkness, it became a place for the occasional writer’s block, a place which provided a multitude of natural and unnatural things to stimulate my senses, in short, I had awakened. Then there was this one night, a night which every star above made itself known, a night which a car pulled over some yards away from mine, a night which she exited her car while looking my way. As she carefully walk to the sidewalk, she had a decision to make and even from that distance I could see her head look left than right. She even stepped briefly to the left but changed her direction and walked to the right along that sidewalk and with each step she grew closer to me, with each step her face became more clearer.
Her intentions? Certainly to not walked past me, but to pause and say, ” I drive by here every once in a while and I’ve been wanting to ask, are you okay?”
truth, peace tone