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.