Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Bench

Our relationship should have lasted two minutes and twenty-eight seconds, but it didn't.

It took place on a single bench in a small park in the small town outside of the big city that's the capital of the massive, rectangular state that I live in.

The only witness was a duck that sat across the path from us, expecting us to give him a piece of the pretzel that I was eating. The bird itself didn't say much, which is nice because that would have made the whole situation that much more ridiculous.

I was waiting for the bus when she sat down next to me.

She was searching for something in her purse as she sat down, but she gave up shortly. She looked out at the pond and gave that sigh that said "ask me what I don't have".

I asked her what she didn't have. She told me she had forgotten her sugar-snap peas. I offered her a piece of my pretzel, but she informed me that she was allergic to gluten. I felt like maybe I had said something insensitive, but I wasn't sure.

She was wearing a black wool coat and had straight black hair, but I knew that if she would have described both the coat and her hair as "a very dark brown that you can really only see in bright light", because she was just that kind of person.

After a moment, she turned to me and said, "do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes right?" which, in this context, meant, "do you wake up and your roommate used all your shampoo and so you had to use bar soap in your hair, and then you were all out of Special K and your frisbee practice got cancelled and your bike had a flat and then you forgot your sugar-snap peas?"

I told her I hadn't, so she informed me that, this morning, she had gone to take a shower and her roommate had used all of her shampoo so she had to use bar soap instead, and then she was all out of Special K, her favorite breakfast cereal, and that her frisbee practice had been cancelled, and that her bike had a flat, and then, ON TOP OF IT ALL, she had forgotten her sugar-snap peas.

"Wow," I replied, impressed. She gave me this little smile that made me forget that I hated her.

I remembered that I had a Three Musketeers in my backpack, which (as I was later told) is one of the free gluten-free candies. I offered it to her and her eyes got all wide and she said, "Oh my god, are you serious?", and when I said yes she gave this little squeal and gave me a hug.

I laughed uncomfortably as she wolfed down the chocolate bar. After she was done, she had another satisfied smile on that, had I hated her, would have made me stop hating her all over again.

Two minutes and twenty-eight seconds after she sat down next to me, the bus came.

Neither of us noticed.


Jedi_Raptor07 said...

Very, very well done.

I'd really like to see this continued, but please don't make it all dark and dreary.

Molly Papey said...

Write more like this oneeeeee e' molto bello!

Carissa said...


jeff said...

Lemme guess: their relationship goes up, then falls waaaaaaaay south with the whole "i hated her" bit.

I think there should be a huge twist: she secretly worked for the government and is the woman who assassinated your parents, whom you thought died in a horrific baking accident.

That said, good story! Very cute.