I sit on this bench reminiscing and feel a sense of darkness creeping up on me. My thighs quiver, I go to move but feel paralyzed, chained to this bench as if it is begging for me to stay, begging for some company. I know that feeling all to well.
People start to stare, or at least it seems that way. They probably smell my emptiness. The smell of a girl who hung around too long. They walk past, slow and aware of their surroundings, identical to someone who is first in line at a haunted house. I don’t really blame them. After all, I did go unseen for years, four to be exact, yet lingered around anyway like a ghost creeping through the same hallways day after day.
“Mom, no he won’t.”
“Honey stop, you look beautiful and he will drop dead the moment he see’s that face all dolled up.”
My mother was the kind of lady you wouldn’t avoid at the grocery store. She accepted everyone in every way she could as if she was some godly figure that couldn’t judge. I always admired her for that. After awhile she didn’t quite see what I saw in this man of mine, half the time not even mine, but you get the point, and I was starting to not see either.
“What do you think? I know you don’t like my hair curled but I thought I’d give it another try.”
“Yeah dude, looks fine. Get in the car we are late.”
Usually I’m not alone while sitting here on this bench, but a majority of the time it felt that way. I listen to the silence. It’s become a friend of mine. A friend so special, I take the time to appreciate it each day for many reasons.
I love hanging out with friends, I love trying new foods, I love shopping and enjoying the outdoors. He loved to fight. Bicker, argue, scream about the pettiest little things. Who does that? But also, who enjoys being around that? Memories start to invade every part of me, my body feels heavy with the thoughts as if I ate a little too much for lunch.
“Why can’t you wear something like what she’s wearing?” He shouts. “You never wear what you know I want you to, it’s like you want me to hate you.”
“Why would I wear something I don’t want to?” I sincerely question.
“Because you are MY girlfriend.”
I finally catch my breath. How did he make me feel so insecure, so completely and utterly worthless in such a manner that made me feel wanted? How could he so brutally yet elegantly tear me apart? I doze off in the same way I would when he was arguing over the same damn thing…
“You will be nothing without me, that I promise you.” He sates, for which felt like the sixty-seventh time that day.
“I know.” I start to believe.
He was the type of person you might purposely avoid at a grocery store but he sure was a beaut. His hair was the perfect shade of brown that matched so perfectly with his chocolate brown eyes. He’s the type of person to get dressed up just to go get coffee, all eyes on him; and he sure ate that up. But fight after fight, one broken phone after another, he wasn’t as pretty to look at anymore. I was never pretty to look at according to him. I’d spend just about the whole night getting ready for a guy that never even noticed me. It was almost as if I was getting ready to go on a first date each time we went out, but it never went as well as a first date should go. Nothing a glass of wine or four couldn’t fix though.
My head starts to hurt as if I’ve been drinking for years now, maybe I have been, who knows. A gust of wind passes by which draws my attention to a scar on my lower left leg.
“When you aren’t responding, that means you are cheating on me, it’s common sense!” He screams using all his force to grab my wrist and eventually my phone.
“You are an insecure, average looking girl who seeks attention from others because your own boyfriend won’t give it to you. You disgust me.”
And that was it.
“You can’t leave me, I need you.” He sobs.
“I don’t need you.”
I sit on this bench reminiscing and feel fulfilled. As I begin to open my eyes, I hear a couple bickering about where to eat in the distance. I want to laugh but try my best not too. It was like I was front row at the best comedy show in town. Except prior to this, I was the main character in the show, and the story was my old relationship. I burst out into laughter for the couple to hear. Oops.
People are watching more than ever, or at least I still think they are. But now with a different view. He might be the same, but I am, in a way, reborn. I dare you to walk past now. You’ll see a smiling, relieved face. Walk by and get a sense of relaxation, a sense that you made it out alive from that haunted house. You’ll get a taste of a filling breakfast, the smell of a favorite perfume, the sight of a person who is now free. I sit on this bench on February sixth and I feel warmth, tranquility.