The Bench

Finalist in the 'Write As Rain 2014' competition

If you think really hard, is there somebody or something in your life that you have been able to depend on forever and will be able to depend on for the rest of your days? The answer to that is probably 'no'. A little while ago, I would have thought the same thing. No longer. At my local supermarket, there is a wooden bench that sits beside the ice box and the DVD rental, soft drink and snack vending machines. It doesn't do anything, just sits there watching the day go by. It's been there for a very, very long time. I remember getting bored standing at the checkout, so I took to climbing onto the bench (I was rather small at the time) and dangling my chubby little legs from its then great heights to pass the time. I was only pulled back to reality when I got a call of, "Hurry up, we're leaving!" or "You carry the mandarins - you asked for them." I found comfort on those uncomfortable wooden palings. As the years went by, my legs grew closer and closer to the floor, until I got to where I am now - the freakishly tall thirteen year old girl who, against all odds, is not ashamed to take a seat on the same bench she's been sitting on all her life. Sometimes, when Mum and Dad have decided to purchase an extremely large haul of groceries, I pull out a book and read. I can feel the wood in the seat below me growing older, wiser, with every word I murmur to myself. It is worn and tired now, but it has grown richer from every soul who has rested upon it. On occasion, I'll sit down and the seat will be warm, and it reminds me that I'm not the only one who has been its constant companion. Recently, I was at my best friend's house with my sister and we went to the supermarket to get lunch. Whilst her mother was at the checkout, my sister, my best friend, her three siblings and I piled onto the bench. There wasn't enough room so the younger ones sat on top of the eldest. My friend looked at me through the tangled mop of her little sister's hair and said, "You know, it's a funny idea, but this seat has actually watched all of us grow up." I smiled. "Yeah, you're right."
Sometimes I lift my legs up so my feet can't touch the floor and stare down, trying to imagine when the ground seemed a million miles away. I reminisce in the memories of my childhood and my innocence at such a young age. I'm older now, and things have changed. I wish I could buy that chair from the supermarket and have it for myself, but I can't. I'd be taking a piece away from everybody's lives. So instead, I just have to hope to God above that Woolies keeps that bench.

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