The Bench

The Bench

He was sitting on his bench overlooking the harbour, well…not his really, but it had the best view. It was his morning ritual, weather permitting; he always brought a little something for the birds.

Over the years others had sat on this seat, never for long. Eventually it had become accepted. The name on the Bench long forgotten.

He watched her walking up the path towards him out of the corner of his eye. He knew her, well not in the strictest sense; to him she was Miss Tidy.  Always smart, never left rubbish on the ground, unlike some he could mention. As she drew level, she abruptly sat down….not too close; never the less, no one had ever done this before.

“Hello I’m Audrey….what a beautiful morning”

He was flabbergasted….conversation was called for; he wasn’t very good at that.

He cleared his throat “Errr… yes, beautiful   I’m Arthur” He looked away, embarrassed.

“I see you here every day, Audrey continued, always alone. You don’t mind me joining you do you? Or have you made plans?”

Plans….Arthur sat there, his mind racing. This was one of those ‘Now or never‘ moments he’d heard about.

Plans, he thought.

All his plans suffered rigor mortis at an early stage, never to rise above his lack of ambition. He wasn’t going to risk plans again.

“No….that’s fine, I mean I’ve nothing planned”

They sat in silence, Arthurs mind was in turmoil.

“Are you related?” Audrey asked 

Arthur flinched “Related…to whom?

“To Gerald Williams”

“I’m sorry, who is Gerald Williams”

Arthurs mind was doing summersaults; this was more conversation than he had had in years, and more like a quiz show.

“The name on the Bench”

She started to laugh, her voice penetrated his defences; before he could stop himself he had joined in.

All this was several years ago, they had progressed from Bench to coffee shop along the Harbour wall. Miss Tidy had become Mrs Tidy.

The Bench had other visitors now.

© mikeverdi 2021
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critique and comments welcome.
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Ifyouplease

very nice short story. the Bench and its visitors. according to the Platonic myth of Er, Ο Μύθος του Ηρός the bench could be the seat of a role (roles are predestined) a chance to change your destiny perhaps and Miss —>Mrs did it by changing the path of another person.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_Er

it didn’t explain, sorry. there are key phrases of your story that are philosophical (Over the years others had sat on this seat, never for long. Eventually it had become accepted.) (The Bench had other visitors now.) but it was not your intention obviously. I am reading the Myth of Er lately, last year it was Bardo Todol, this is the Greek Bardo Todol so to speak, the intermediate state after our death according to Plato. and by the way there was no need to explain anything at least here. story is not philosophical .end of story. your thread’s title… Read more »

Sweetwater

As you know Mike I rarely read prose as it can be overlong and lose its way, but yours is never like that so I can read with trust, knowing you will always lead me along interesting paths, and this is no exception a lifetime wrapped in a small but perfectly formed package. I immediately liked both of them and the ending was exactly as I hoped. Perfect 🙂 Sue. Xx

Ionicus

You are irrepressible, Mike. Always ready to challenge us to find faults in your writings and I must admit that, apart from minor quibbles that I have had from time to time, I haven’t found any.
Cheers.

Stevef

Nice little vignette, Mike. I’m wondering how this would look by only using ‘he’ and ‘she’, rather than the protagonist’s names (other than Miss/Mrs Tidy). It might sharpen up the character’s edges. Just a thought. A couple of typos: ‘not to close’ should be ‘not too close’, rigor mortis rather than riga mortis and the odd full stop, comma and quote adrift. That’s all minor stuff, of course; I’m sure the meds must make things a bit cloudy sometimes. Re your forum thread about being able to write, you’ve always been in my top five to check out on publishing… Read more »

Valdohren

Such a delightful little story Mike, simple yet full of meaning. Up to your usual high standard of course.
Val xxx

Pommer

A beautiful story well written.Yes,Mike, Life is like that .I had an encounter on a bench three days ago in Honiton,which is not the same obviously, but which in some ways made me wonder why it should have happened,I might write about it soon.As for you ,young man,The mind boggles..See my comment in the forum.Be lucky, Peter.
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Pommer

Hi Mike, A lovely little story written in your usual entertaining style.I really enjoyed reading it.A very meaningful tale. Be lucky,Peter.

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