Sunday, 22 June 2008
This is a bench of significance. At least to us. Ten years ago, after an enjoyable evening at the pub a crowd of friends came back to my house. We listened to music and talked and talked. Gradually, everyone left one by one until there was just one friend remaining. We kept talking. We decided to walk down to the park and watch the sun rise. We sat on this bench and talked some more. Unfortunately, we didn't notice the sun rising because we were facing West; one minute it was dark, the next it wasn't.
The bench stood firm against changes in the surrounding landscape; the rebuilding of the nearby sports centre, new paving slabs for people to grind their cigarettes into and the tickling of the new hedge's fingers as it shot up from behind.
You can see from the picture that there's been some sort of traumatic event. The unnoticed spark from a cigarette, an illicit barbecue that went wrong or someone who just spontaneously combusted? Maybe. I'm sure if your trousers were on fire, you'd notice before you got to that stage. How can you not notice the sparks, the burning before it gets to your bare skin? We'll never know. Just like we never knew when we sat there talking as friends after a long night that one day, three years later, we'd be married, walking past the bench with our children.