I woke up this morning and it was a hot summer day. I was looking forward to sitting on my favorite bench at the beach. It was my favorite bench for no other reason than it was mine. I like to go and sit. Sometimes I can sit for hours staring at the ocean change colors. When I got down to the beach and approached my bench there was a large man sitting on it. “That’s my bench.” I said. “Oh yes, well would you like to join me? I come here to look at the ocean. My wife disappeared last month, the sky just took her from me and I like to come here to look for her. I look out onto the ocean and see if she isn’t swimming toward the shore. She wasn’t a very good swimmer, but with all this practice, well, she must be quite strong at it by now.” I felt bad for this large lumpy man. He wore a black and blue plaid suit. His chin spilled over his tie. I just wanted to sit on my bench. I squeezed in next to him and sat staring at the ocean with him. “How long have you been looking for her?” “Oh for years now.” He said. “I have been coming to this bench every day for years. Although sometimes I go to the one over there or the one over there or the one over there.” He lifted his thick arm through the air and pointed each time he said the words ‘over there’. I saw his arm moving in my direction on the third ‘over there’ and I pushed back as far as I could so he didn’t hit my nose. My nose is worth protecting, that’s what I’ve always said. We watched the ocean together. It changed colors maybe twelve times that day. We watched the toy poodle and the bulldog play the shell game. The toy poodle was cheating, taking the bulldog for everything he had. “Trickery!” I said. “Trickery!” he agreed. “Trickery!” the bulldog barked. When the sun sunk into the ocean we stood up, shook hands and went our separate ways. The next day it was sunny again. When I arrived at my bench it was empty. I had so much room I could move my legs or even lie flat if I wanted and turn my head to stare at the ocean. I didn’t. I sat straight and tall and pushed myself as far as I could to the edge of the bench. Somewhere out there, someone was struggling with the sky.
August 21, 2012