The Bench

The sound of dirt and rocks crunching under my sneakers as I stroll along the trail that unites the towns of Newford and Lorbarrow in the untamed plains of Montana,
The smell of fresh air and wildflowers as a warm breeze rolls over the vast green, yellow, white, orange, pink and purple plains,
The warmth of the sun radiating down on me as I trek to a familiar place,
The feeling of childhood memories flooding through my head and of my partner’s hand sliding into mine that brings feelings of happiness and safety,
The excitement of finally being home again that surges through my entire being,
The anticipation of what we will find once we reach this familiar place,
All of these things overwhelm me to the point where I feel tears pricking at the corners of my eyes but I will them not to fall.
Not yet.
Not until the sun begins to rise and we reach the other side of the bend in the trail.
And we see it.
The place we went searching for.
The place we first declared ourselves to each other.
The bench.
The one that our town’s church placed in honor of a beloved firefighter who passed.
The one that was once the place we tied our dogs’ leashes so they wouldn’t run off while we had our picnics.
The one that witnessed me confessing my undying love for my dearest.
The one that offered her support when she went into labor on our morning walk.
The one that saw our kids learn to ride their bicycles.
The same one that will now see the ashes of our firstborn as the sun peeks over the horizon to play witness to this somber event.
And the one that will someday see ours as well.

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