Inspired by this week’s picture prompt

I never felt so alive as when I was with her. Maybe it was the way the sunlight always streamed in, turning everything it touched into gold. Maybe it was just me, since I was such a young thing, and quite impressionable. The first time I saw her, I was sitting, as I always was, in the gazebo at the end of Clover Park. It was always so desolate that time of day, and that’s why I took such notice of her. I noticed her radiant, raven hair, her contagious chuckle. She started to come at the same time of day, always after dinner time but before dark, almost every week night. Some days she’d talk, and I’d just listen, fascinated. “I really enjoy this time with you,” she’d say. I could’ve sworn I blushed. “It’s funny how things work,” she told me one day, her smile sparkling. “When I met you, I didn’t know how wonderful you are. I never thought this would happen.” I never thought so, either. You see, I’m not composed of flesh and bones, like most are. I’m cast iron and wood, and I’ve always let that define me. Until I met her. With her, things were different.

One evening, she stood up, and I thought she was about to leave. I longed to tell her to stay – stay forever. Then she told me something more beautiful than I could’ve imagined. Her voice started soft, and then gained volume as she gained confidence. “I’m telling the world that I’ve found the one.” She grinned from ear to ear. “I’ve found you, and that’s all that matters.”

I thought nothing could ruin our moment. Something did. I saw him, walking towards the gazebo, towards us. She threw her arms around him – not me, but him.

“So you’ll marry me?” He asked.

“Yes,” she cried, “A thousand times yes.”

How could she desert me like that? As she embraced him, I that she grasped something in her hand. A rectangular object. Now that I thought of it, she’d been holding that object to her ear during all or our talks together. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe she’d been talking to it all along. Maybe she didn’t mean any of the things I thought she said to me.

Well, in the ensuing months, I suppose I went through the five stages of grief. It’s rough – unrequited love. I went through a nostalgia phase. Why couldn’t she just come back, so I could hear all her beautiful words again? I longed for simpler days. Then I went through a phase of self-doubt. I was just a cast-iron bench. I sat in the gazebo at the far west end of Clover park, and she never stopped by to see me anymore. No one stopped to see me anymore. Why? It was because I was different. I was not made of flesh and bones, as they are. It’s hard to be discriminated against, especially when I couldn’t change who I was. Then I came to a realization, that just because I was different from them, it didn’t mean I wasn’t important. I had a purpose. Without the gazebo, without me, would the two of them have gotten together the way they did?

It’s been two years. I’ve quite reconciled myself with what happened. Last week, she started coming back – well, it was him, her, and a tiny, sleeping baby. I don’t mind the differences between us. She still has radiating hair, but now her smile radiates too, and with joy.

No, I am not flesh and bones, but I made someone happy. I realize now that bringing joy is the most noble of any accomplishment.

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