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A Bench In Central Park
lunarihoshi
A Bench In Central Park
by Miles Dawson
It’s been years since I’d last been here. Central Park is now less than a shell of what it used to be. Dust and broken planks blanket the old land, but one single bench still stands, dusty and dull. I sat on it, hearing its creak. I gazed out over the new, barren wasteland. All of it dust, all of it a disgusting nightmare for the sinuses, all of it a strange and disgusting memoir of it’s old, glorious, polluted city.
This is the New York of the future.
“And where are you?” I say as I kick a small ball of rubble. “Where did you go?” But I don’t really believe that you can hear me. I don’t think that you made it out. But I think I’ll still wait, at least until I’m convinced. I’ll still sit and wait. You’ve got to come some time. “These December winds,” I shrug, “they always get to me…” You always used to say that. If you were here now, this wind would push you over the edge. There was a heavy breeze at the moment. It certainly was warmer than the last December that you had said that.
I got up and walked.
I came to where our apartment used to be. Now it’s just a pile of bent metals and rubble, millions of memories buried in the wake of destruction. I stood there, hands in pocket, staring at the pile of what once was.

“What are you doing?”
“Just staring at you. You’re so beautiful. Do you know that?”
“Oh stop!”
“I’m serious. You’re beautiful.”
“Hmm. Thanks.”
“You know you are.”
“Yeah. Love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Let’s go.”
“I don’t want to go to your brothers’ party.”
“Why not?”
“He’s always got his drinking buddies over, they always sneak out and get drunk.”
“So?”
“So, I’d rather if we went to his party and he was there.”
“Fine, whatever, let’s just go catch a movie.”

I had to turn away. That was a night I’ll never forget. Not ever. I sat on a somewhat withstanding piece of stone and sat. I let my mind wander, waiting, expecting nothing to happen. Obviously nothing did. Nothing ever does anymore.

“They’re… They’re evacuating the city.”
“I’m not leaving.”
“You have to, you’ll die if you don’t!”
“I have lived here my whole life! I’m not going to die somewhere else!”
“You’re so damn stubborn!”
“I’m not dying somewhere else.”
“… I’m leaving. I’ll be at the dock. The ship leaves at six.”
“Good bye.”
“…”
“Well are you going or not?”
“… I love you.”

I hate this city. I’ve been trying to leave it for years now. I had once chance, but I guess that’s gone. It left when you did. You know that I’ll be in Central Park, waiting for you, on our bench. You know the one. Maybe when you get there we can talk again. It has been months.
I went there today. I sat down and waited. I let my mind reflect, recounting that day. Everybody was screaming and running. All the cars stopped and everybody just ran. I looked out my window and saw an ocean of bodies cascading over the land, running to the docks. It was seven-thirty. I sat back in the recliner with a bottle of Captain Morgan, turned on some of the old DVD’s I’d wanted to watch for a while now and finally watched them. I had to turn the volume to almost full blast because the howls of the damned threatened to drown out “Gone with the Wind.”
And then it was bright.
I woke up in a metal room. There was one man there; he was tired. He had taken me to some sort of a bomb shelter. We stayed there for three whole weeks. He had died of a tumor, I strongly believe, about a week before I had left the shelter. From there I wandered forth. It’s been three years of going from failed shelter to failed shelter getting food, resting, and remembering. I’m pretty sure that I’m alone. I wish you were here.

“So, you got anyone that’s… You know… Up there?”
“Yeah, just one.”
“What’s their name?”
“Michelle.”
“That’s a nice name.”
“Yeah… She got to the docks in time for the ship.”
“Really? Lucky.”
“I guess so… I don’t think the ships made it anywhere though.”
“No, they should have left much earlier. I think they went down with the rest of the armada.”
“Yeah…”
“You okay? I didn’t mean to…”
“No, I’ll be fine. Is there anymore applesauce or something, I’m starved.”

Are you at the docks? Did you decide to stay there? You know that I’ll be at our special place, right? It’s our bench. I’ll be there for you.
I think I’ll go to the docks, maybe you are there. I went and got a small boat that had survived. It was a rowboat, but it would have to suffice. I rowed outward to no where in particular, just out. Direction wise, I would have to guess southeast.
I don’t really know why I went, didn’t expect anything to happen, I didn’t expect to meet anybody in the middle of the ocean, and I didn’t really expect to find you.
I think I was just tired of the God forsaken city.
After about three hours I stopped. I lay back in the boat and waited for anything to happen. But I just fell asleep.

I woke up on a beach and saw a sign that said “Florida.” I need to get back to the bench, I would kill myself if I missed you at the bench. What if you get there when I’m not there?

“Can we just sit and rest a while?”
“Yeah, sure honey.”
“Thanks.”
“Anything.”
“Aw… Aren’t the birds so pretty? Especially when they sing.”
“All except the pigeons.”
“The pigeons are birds too, just as much as a swallow or a blue jay!”
“Yeah, but they’re annoying, and they poop on everything.”
“So does a Bald Eagle.”
“Yeah, but Bald Eagles are cool.”
“Isn’t this bench just perfect? It’s right here, by all the trees, right on the turn of the path.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“You can see everybody coming, everybody going. The birds, trees, children playing, and you can hardly hear the city.”
“It’s kinda nice.”

The day is coming close. In a week it’s our anniversary and I need to be there by then. Even if you aren’t.

It was a lot of walking and I’m deathly tired, but I made it. I’m at the bench, sitting, waiting. I can see where all the plants used to be. I can even hear the birds in the back of my mind. I can hear you in the back of my mind. If only you were here, then it would be perfect. I can’t wait to see you again.
And then there you were. In the same jeans and jacket you had left in, you were here again. You were walking up out of the dust, here. I sat upright, stunned by your presence.

“You are here.”
“I told you I would be.”
“It took me so long to get back here.”
“I’ve been waiting for so long for you.”
“Well, I’m here now.”
“I know. I know, and I’m so happy.”
“Me too.”

I really am so glad that you’re here. Now we can be happy forever.
So we just sat there on that bench. It’s just the two of us together. My arm around you, your head on my shoulder, it’s just the two of us. We just sat there, on a bench in Central Park.</p>


For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?


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