“It’s autumn. The leaves have changed and are being blown off the trees. I’m sitting on a green bench next to the creek listening to the roar of the wind. I can see the ripples of the water yield to the breath of nature. There are so many colors in the trees. How can the sleep of death create so much varied beauty? I am bombarded with different sights and sounds as I look at the reflections in the greenish body of water.
I can feel water from the creek blow on my face. It is cold and shocking to the skin, yet it refreshes me. It reminds me of when I was a child visiting my aunt and uncle in New England. We went to the beach many times to build sand castles and gather sea shells. My sister was getting older and more independent, so I spent a lot of time by myself since she was no fun. I enjoyed being alone. My family wanted me to hang out with my cousin who was close to my age, but I didn’t really like him. He just made fun of me, and I didn’t know how to react. Communicating with other people was hard for me. I was very shy, yet I had so much to say. Most times, I kept everything to myself. Sometimes, I couldn’t contain it within me. Results varied. Adults would acknowledge that I said something or laugh at my childish jokes, but real conversations rarely occurred. Kids would point out how weird I was, thus enabling my diffidence. There was a handful of friends who enjoyed my oddities, and I wanted to spend time with them. Still, it was easier to be alone.
I can hear a boy and a girl chattering away without a care in the world. Life is simple to them. School is easy. Friends are fun. I hope their parents love each other and keep a good home. In a couple of years, those children will turn into teenagers and create all kinds of hell. He will work hard to be as cool as possible, and she will be worrying about how she looks. Each will decide to like the opposite sex one day and completely despise it the next. The body and mind are constantly changing into a different creature: a young adult. I was concerned with the matters of a teenager even as an “adult,” but it was on a different level – or was it? Still, I was a different person when I graduated high school. And now, I am a different person ready to graduate college. A better person, I hope.
There is a heart carved into the bench. I can see that ‘J & B’ was tenderly written within this common symbol of love. I wonder if they’re still in love. Are they old now, or are they still young lovers? I was in love once. I think. I am reminded of the time she and I went on a walk in the park. There was a wooden railing newly built to keep people from going into the water. When she turned away, I etched our names into the wood hoping it would eternalize the love between us. Yet, it was not to be. She broke my heart a year later. All is forgiven now. Though, it still seems like it happened yesterday. A part of me hopes that the wooden railing was torn down and used for firewood. Seeing others in love reminds me of the void within me. It’s very selfish. I should be happy for them. I should smile when I see a couple kiss. Still, there is a sense of hopelessness that lingers. A bittersweet experience that is all too familiar. Perhaps, I will meet Mr. and Mrs. ‘J & B’ someday, and I will get to introduce my wife to them. Until then, I will just be waiting on the Lord, whatever that really means…”