A longing for something different

For the more than this competition.

When I was a child we couldn't have been closer but time forces people apart, circumstances change, people change and boredom can be one of the worst forces for change there is.


3. Nostalgia about benches- Melanie

Having my own car has made me forget how much I hate benches. Some of the most vivid memories of my childhood involve benches:  climbing over the benches at the local playground as part of an aggressively competitive obstacle course, peeling and picking flaky yellow paint off the benches at primary school while the head teacher droned on expectations and then when I was older leaning awkwardly on the bench next to Safeway waiting for Wayne, trying to make it appear that I had only just got there. Unfortunately even now I have the inability to stand still and if I don’t stop pacing my feet are going to blister up which would necessitate a large number of plasters. I don’t care about getting chewing gum on my skirt but trying to pick up plaster packing is as boring and futile as trying to get sand out of my combat boots.


The worst thing about benches is their connotation with waiting- you hardly notice you’re sitting on a bench if the person you agree to meet is with you. How much longer? That’s the type of question I would constantly ask as a small child. Will you buy me more sweets? Can I go to Molly’s house? Will you let me stay out later? Simple questions with simple answers that were given to me readily. But then as a teenager I started asking different questions in my head. What did I want to do with my life? What’s the point? Is there more than this? I’m not prone to sentimentalism thank god, but I haven’t brought my handbag so I don’t have anything to distract me and it’s hard not to reminisce when I’m waiting for the most important person in my childhood.


She still isn’t here. She’s usually so punctual. Without my phone I don’t even know what time it is. Usually I would ask someone but there isn’t anyone here which is strange. My alarm didn’t go off this morning so I rushed here without eating anything, changing my clothes, checking the time or even grabbing my handbag. I still feel slightly disorientated from travelling last night- I entered an autumnal world. Leaves gracefully fluttered down to earth released from huge oak branches in the sky and rivers of willow branches rushed across the landscape. Even in the open the light was dappled and golden. I climbed a beautiful rainbow of glowing gold, rust reds and shades of brown that instead of looking dreary were actually beautiful. I climbed higher and higher, until if I stood on my tip toes I could touch the silver sky and the possibility of falling was exciting. Even though I jumped, ran and floated for hours on end I reached the top without producing even a bead of sweat. Then I jumped. The acceleration was perfect- I went from being completely still to free falling at the speed of sound the air whipped around me, no more solid than an emotion. It threatened to stay intangible until a metre from the ground when it became a squishy solid supporting my weight and gently suspending me above a pool of golden leaves. Experiences like that make it hard to adjust to a world where a day is simply a timetable to be followed and life a set of rules to be adhered to.


I still have on the same clothes I was wearing yesterday and I might as well sort out the pockets as I have nothing else to do. A screwed up tissue, 12 pence in pennies and a small screwed up piece of paper which is almost certainly a receipt or something equally tedious. The realization suddenly slaps me- it’s the paper that contained last night’s portal and I still have a little left. I’ve never gone travelling while in a public place before. I’ve always been too worried about being discovered by someone I know, but this station is tiny and isolated. I’ve probably made a mistake with the time to meet her. I could go home but I’m so tired and I really can’t face the drive back. I could be too early so if I stay here I might be able to still see her without the extra journey which, with the price of petrol and my stretched salary, is really the only logical plan. All I have to do is use the portal. I’ll just be careful not to walk around I can just marvel at the other world sitting down.

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