The girl on the park bench

The girl on the park bench

Theres a girl sitting on a park bench reading a newspaper. She’s absorbed in what she’s reading, paying no mind to the playing children, the hungry birds scratching nearby or the loud path sweeper as it rolls by. A bright red ball rolls near her foot. A little girl with pig tails and red cape walks up to her and retrieves the ball. “Hello”.

“Well hello there, thats a very nice ball you have there” replies the girl.

“What are you reading?” asks little red cape.

“The newspaper” Replies the girl.

“Is it good news?” little red cape asks.

“No, not really.”

“Then why are you reading it?”

“Because it’s better than the news I just got”.

“Okay, bye” says little red cape.

As the little girl runs off with her ball in hand and red cape flying out around her, the older girl looks up solemnly, looking me squarely in the eye. There was a sad look in her eyes, the tears close to the surface but they’d not yet burst through. I’d heard the exchange between the two girls. I’m now wondering what has made this young lady so sad, for to find out news that is worse than in the papers, it must be heartbreaking indeed.

In my younger years, I wouldn’t have done what I did next. I would have stayed right where I was, curious but ready to offer compassion, but unable to. Stuck in a pattern created by society of not providing comfort to strangers.
I walked over to the girl. “Hello dear. Can I sit with you a while? It’s a bit lonely sitting there by myself. Watching the children play, the innocence is quite captivating don’t you think?”.

She waved her arm in invitation. “Hello” she says.

“Oh to be a child again, wouldn’t it be glorious?” I ask her. “This park is quite lovely, the trees and flowers, the grass … yes quite lovely.
But it’s not like how I grew up. We had a vegetable garden where I could pick the peas and eat them straight from the pod. Or pluck an apple from the tree.

We even had a cow when I was very little. I’d sit beside my ma as she milked Tulip. It’s a little different now. “
The girl leaned in listening to my reminiscing. The worries in her face abating for a small while, as I continued the tale of growing up in a time when a persons main goal was to feed their family.

I’m practising writing and this is a first draft. It’s come directly out of my head with no editing. It’s one of my dreams to write good fiction and to do that I need to practice. This is my space, so please respect that in the comments. You’re welcome to leave constructive feedback but if you’re all negative Nancy then you’re not welcome here.