A Bench For Two

It was nothing at first.
Then it grew bigger.
The contours.
The edges.
Everything became clear.
Though only one question remained.
And only one of them knew what it meant.

'A Bench For Two' is a story about Gee and B. About confidence, friendship and most importantly love; though that'll always remain a mystery.

Hope you enjoy :)

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1. A Bench For Two

 

Bushes and trees surround a bench made of stone, the grass a carpet beneath it. Hither and thither a flower peeks up in yellow and white colours. High above the trees and from between the branches, the sky blinks dark and starry. No cloud breaks the harmony of the moon. On the bench, down beneath the leaves of spring and summer, a boy and a girl are sitting, looking, not at each other, but at the carpet of grass in front of them, bright in the light of the lightpost beside the bench.   

 

B: I just want to know where we stand.

     His voice is rough, but sweet. The girl doesn't stir at his voice, when she answers. 

G: Me too.

     A long silence follows.

B: My sister scraped her knee today.

G: I didn't.

B: She cried.

G: I did.

B: Why?

     A hesitant silence.

G: It's just too much.

B: What is?

G: This... Everything... My life.

B: Hey. Don't cry.

G: Why? My dad is in the hospital. I am afraid he's going to die. My mom doesn't care. She hasn't cared her whole life. I am afraid. Of being left alone. What will I do alone? I can't be left alone. I can't.

     The boy moves a few inches towards her, though there are still a few feet between them.

B: Shh. It's ok. Don't cry.

G: What will I do alone?

B: Don't you have any sisters or brothers?

G: I have a big brother. But he's married and is living in Gran Canaria with his Spanish wife.

B: Doesn't he visit you?

G: He calls. But it's not like he's here.

     Silence.

G: I envy him. I envy him for having someone to share his life with. I envy him for not being alone.

B: When my sister started to cry, she wanted a kiss.

G: A kiss can't heal a wound.

B: She believes in that.

G: I don't.

B: Oh ... I didn't mean -

G: It's ok. I am sorry.

     Silence. A bit of sniffing.

G: So. Where do we stand?

B: I don't know. 

G: How will we know?  

B: We have been together a few times.

G: We have.

B: But it doesn't prove anything.

G: It's funny, really. I have never thought about it.

B: About what?

G: About this. Where we stand.

B: Have you never been with a boy?

G: Countless. But we never talked.

B: What did you do, then?

G: The obvious, I think.

B: Like kissing?

G: Like hooking up. Like holding hands. Like snogging. Like touching. But we never talked. Never.

B: Do you miss them?

G: Who?

B: Them. The boys.

G: I don't know. No. I think not.

B: Do you despise the times you spent together?

G: Your questions are difficult.

B: You don't have to answer if you don't want to.

G: It's not that. It's just that ... if I ever were to despise these times, I should despise myself.     

B: Why?

G: Because I spent them willingly. Because I didn't steer away from that path. Because I have never really cared.

     She gives a humorless laugh.

G: Maybe I am turning out to be more like my mother than I thought.

B: Is that a bad thing?

G: It is.

     She doesn't elaborate.

B: What do you like to do?

G: Not much. Most of the time I just sit and think.

B: About what?

G: Everything. My life. My being. My soul. The world. My parents. My brother.

B: Don't you get lonely?

G: I am used to it.

B: But you must yearn for more.

G: Yearning hasn't given me anything.

B: The boys. Didn't any one of them notice that you were lonely?

     The girl gives a wry smile.

G: Do you want to know what they noticed?

B: What?

G: That my breasts are too small. That my lips are soft. That I am impatient. That sort of thing.

     An awkward silence from the boy.

B: Did you like being like that?

G: Like what?

     The boy gestures at her without making eye contact.

B: Like this. Did you like being treated like a body with no mind? Did you like to be a statue made of marble?

G: Why not of stone?

B: Whatever.

G: I don't know. I have always been like that. Nobody ever taught me what to do. I found that this way was easier.

B: Why easier?

G: The boys came and went as they pleased. We had no connection whatsoever. No bonds. No responsibility. Whatever happened, happened. Nobody was held responsible. It's easier that way. No expectations. Nothing.

B: So you don't like responsibilty?

G: It has never been a piece of me. It has always been something alien to me.

B: So you shun responsibility?

G: What I do, is make my life easier.

B: By being a slut.

G: By being nobody.

B: But you care.

G: About what?

B: About your father.

G: Yeah.

B: Is that not responsibility?

G: My father has no expectations of my care or my love. I can do with it what I please.

B: Is it expectations you're afraid of then? 

    The girl looks at him out of the corner of her eye.

G: I don't want to talk with you.

B: Why?

G: I just don't.

They both sit, looking at the sea of grass in front of them. A man with his dog passes by. When he notices them he rushes by them, avoiding meeting their eyes.

B: It's a pity, really.

G: What is?

B: That you're like this.

G: What do you mean?

     The girl's voice is sharp and angry. The boy looks unaffected.

B: When I first met you, I found you a kind girl. But you're not.

G: I am not?

B: You're afraid of being responsible. And that leads to you being careless and unkind, because nothing matters to you. I think I know where we're standing.

G: Where do we stand?

B: We stand on opposite sides of an ocean of eternity. We'll never meet.

G: Not even by coincidence?

B: Not even by chance or luck. Or fate.

G: Why?

B: Because I want a girl who isn't afraid of taking care of another person. I want a girl who isn't afraid of love. Who isn't afraid of making bonds and cutting them. Of commitment. Who isn't afraid of living and seeing her life as it is.

G: Don't I have a say in the matter?

B: No.

G: Why?

B: Because the girl I saw, wasn't the girl I talked to. I am sorry.

G: You don't have to be.

     The boy stands up, looking at her in her thin jacket and dark jeans.

B: I am sorry for doing what every other boy has done.

G: You don't have to be. You're at least truthful. 

     A long silence stretches by, though the boy doesn't leave.

G: Aren't you leaving?

B: I am.

G: Then leave.

B: Aren't you going home?

G: Not for now. I want to enjoy the afternoon.

B: Will your parents not be worried?

The girl looks up at him.

G: Don't you think that your question is weird?

B: I know your mother doesn't care but -

G: I think it's better if you leave now.

B: I can accompany you if you want.

G: Thanks, but no thanks.

B: I am sorry if I offended -

G: Can't you just go?

B: Just one last thing.

G: What?

B: You have my number. You can call me anytime.

G: Bye.

The boy silently walks by. When he's out of sight, the tears start to fall down her cheek. She sits at the bench for hours. Then she leaves.

 

 

 

  

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