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The Park Bench
( Content Curator at The Floating Thoughts© )
Caroline sat at the green weather-beaten bench, the only one in the little park atop a small hill, below the mighty rugged mountains, that overlooked her little town. Breathing in the crisp autumn air, she let her eyes wander over the town; cherry blossom trees that had begun blooming across the town and were a stark pink against the green conifers; cottages, their roofs red and pale green glistening in the afternoon sun, were aligned in perfect rectangles; and there rose the church steeple, the same one where Albert and Caroline had taken their vows five and thirty years ago this very day. She smiled at the little ceremony that was, the nervous smile with which Albert had greeted her at the altar, his head angled, his frizzy hair patted down, the single yellow rose tucked in her braid, and the happy peal of bells! Thirty-five years of being together.
It was in the town library that they had first met, one balmy Saturday, where Caroline would volunteer, her maddening love for books, the smell of yellowing pages drawing her to the library. With an awkward smile, pushing the glasses that kept sliding down his nose, Albert had approached her, the name of book scribbled on a little piece of paper. It was one of her favourites she had exclaimed and quickly handed him the book, pressing a smile. He was at the library every Saturday, with a scribbled note, frizzy hair, sharing the silent amusement upon a book they both loved, quiet nods, mischievous smiles and one rainy afternoon, his scribble read, ‘A walk, perhaps a cup of tea?’
Caroline was ecstatic! Walking in the light drizzle, the sky a shade of violet and grey, petrichor from the erstwhile dry streets, in harmonious silence, surreptitiously smiling, their hands often brushing sending shivers through Caroline’s body, did they reach the quiet park, onward the green bench, towards blossoming love.
The little park seemed an extension of their little world, one they had lovingly created in the mighty world. It was upon this bench that Albert had braved himself to hold Caroline’s hand many seasons ago, for the first time; it was here aquiver with unparalleled joy, that she had tasted the drops of perspiration upon his lips, their very first kiss; it was here, one melodious night, when armed with a flask of tea and cinnamon rolls to witness the dance of meteors, did they huddle together, hand to hand, arm to arm, feet to feet, and under the sparkle of the night sky made love. Coy, nervous, Caroline had caressed his nape, goose pimples mushrooming where her hands strayed; Albert’s eyes sparkled with mischief and joy as he had loosened her braid, showering her with kisses, drenched in love. Giddy by the scent of her body, lemony, he had kissed her all over, innocently passionate, the hollow of her shoulder, the curves of her body, the softness of her bosom. Heaving hearts beat in unison and warm bodies found solace in each others comfort; fingers entwined, eyes gleaming, happy tears, they had became one with the starry night, with flashes of meteor lighting up the sky.
And it was at this very bench, nervous and shy, did Albert hand Caroline a scribble; opening, she cried at the sparkle of a ring, and words which ran thus, ‘Will you be my wife?’. She had gestured yes for no was never an option. ‘I have loved you more than anything and even when my heart stops beating, I will cross heaven and hell to have it beat for you.’, he had gestured. Holding his hands, nodding her head, smiling and crying, she had hugged him, the promise of a lifetime.
Caroline’s parents and friends, neighbours alike, weren’t particularly pleased with her decision. Oh love will run out when silence takes over, they had all said, admonishing her decision, nodding in shocked disagreement. ‘Do I need to talk endlessly to love endlessly? Our hearts converse, they talk to each other, our eyes understand, comprehend the twinkle, the sorrow in each other and that shall suffice for me!’, she argued, resolute. And here she was four decades later, blossoming in love each day, with Albert, cloaked in his ineffable charm, strengthening her faith, accentuating her love. While she ruminated at the happy thirty-five years, Albert, yet mischievous, his frizzy hair now quite grey, crept in slowly behind her to tuck a yellow rose on her braid and handed Caroline a scribble. ‘Here’s to us, Carol. Here’s to our love.’ Smiling, she leaned upon his chest, her home, and knotted her fingers in his.
And there they nestled as a caressing breeze whistled over them, church bells from the town chimed a faint echo, orange clouds blushed a shade of pink, and stars, hurriedly, appeared to witness the innocent love on the park bench.
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