A Bench To Remember

There was a time when I used to know an old lady in her sixties, who always used to come and sit in a bench at the nearby park. It was like her daily routine and she was coming there since years. I have been watching her for the past four-five years. She used to come there, sit and relax on the same bench and just looks at the nature and enjoy the lovely breeze and remembers her old memories.

She was weak, she used to carry her stick and a book (maybe a religious book) in her hand. It was usual on that day too. I was upset and whenever I am upset I just go and relax in the same park. This time I decided to sit near that old lady.

Suddenly I saw an old man standing right beside the lady. He asked, ” Would you mind if I sit here for a while”?

It seemed that she was just not bothered to answer him and she nodded her hand. She was busy with her own memories. She did not wanted to break the tranquility of the moment in which she was lost. So the old man decided to take his seat on the other end of the same bench. Time passed by and it was time for the old lady to move.

The old man asked her, “Do you mind to answer my few questions”? Lady replied, ” If they are sensible enough to answer.”

He asked, “Do you come here everyday or is it something special today”?

The lady replied, “this is the only thing you wanted to ask?”

The old man shyly replied, “Yes I am afraid you might feel bad”

The lady smiled and replied, ” Dont you feel so peaceful here? Just look at the nature and the cool breeze. Its wonderful to be a part of this place. I just love it, she added.

She said, “I dont come here everyday, but yes I make it a point that I come here every Saturday evening”.

The old man again asked, “Since how long you visiting this place?”

She replied, ” You will be shocked to hear. Its more than thirty years I am coming here and I make it a point not to miss a single week”.

The old man was surely shocked to hear that. But then he said, “If you made it a habit, then why did you break it?”

Old lady looked at her with shocking eyes. She said, “Break the habit. What do you mean by that?

He said, “yes you broke your habit, because its not Saturday today, its Sunday.” Is it really Sunday today? She asked again.

“yes it is Sunday.”

No No you must check your calender again. Its not at all Sunday today. Its Saturday only.

The old man said, “No its Sunday only because I come here every week on Sunday.”

Old lady was quiet. Then she uttered, “I am sure one of us is definitely wrong”. Old man smiled again. I was sitting there and was smiling from inside. I was just loving their conversation. Though my mood was off still I was enjoying every second of it.

The old lady then turned around towards the banyan tree where i was sitting. There she pointed towards the heart shaped carved on the tree with two names. The lady asked the old man,”Do you really believe all this is true? Do you think they are happy in their lives today?

Old man did not answer and then finally replied her,”I don’t know whether they are happy or not, all i know is that they were atleast together for some part of the time, if not for lifetime.”

“Do you call that happiness”? She replied.

I was sure there was no answer left in his mind for this question. He remained silent. Then the lady asked again,”Do you have a wife and children”?

He replied, “my wife died in an accident few weeks back”. I was really sad on listening this and so was the old lady. She apologized for asking this question. But the old man did not mind.

He asked, “What about your family?”

“My husband died quite a long time back. I often used to visit this place and it has always been my secret place. My husband thought I was having an affair with someone. But he did not knew that I visit this place. I just used to put some excuses in front of him. All I used to tell him was that i am going to meet our Son.”

“Oh so you have a son too”. Thats great.

“Yes and his name is Mark.” He is in his thirties now.

Hey you know what? My name is Mark too and I am not lying. But all I wanted to ask you that, “Why¬† this bench only? What is so special about this bench?”

Ok I am telling you this secret. I was in love with a guy when I was already engaged. The guy was also engaged to some girl from Canada. We often used to spend time here. I am not getting the name of the girl. It starts from P or S or …

“The old man stopped her and said, Paula. Her name was Paula.”

And the guy’s name was Mark. The old lady with her puzzled face started recognizing her first love. She couldn’t believe her eyes that it was the same guy whom he loved madly before her engagement.

They both laughed. I smiled too. I was in a good mood now. The sun was settling down. They both held their hands together and without uttering any further words started enjoying the lovely view of sunset, as I walked towards my home.