The Lady on the Bench

This post was chosen as a Blogadda WoW contest top post


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Write Over the Weekend theme for Jan 25, 2013 -
You meet a random person and start talking… What happens next?

***

Ruby sat at her usual spot in the park, the bench on top of a grassy knoll. It was her favourite place in the whole city. She loved spending an hour there every morning, basking in the sunshine, watching the world come to life from her vantage point at a height.

Morning joggers passed by. Some of them nodded at her. She nodded politely back. The people she knew, the familiar figures on the jogging track, were somehow no longer visible these days. She sighed. That was the way of the world. New faces replaced the old ones. But memories would still remain, she mused.

As she sat thinking, she heard a soft voice say, "May I join you on this bench, please?". She looked up. A serious face, with large brown eyes looked back at her. A boy of about thirteen, neat, tall and lean.

"Of course", said Ruby, smiling at the boy. "Thank you", said the boy and took his place beside her on the bench. They sat in companionable silence for a while.

Ruby looked at the serious, contemplative boy. He seemed lost in deep thought. As though sensing her gaze, he looked up at her. Ruby was shocked by the sadness in his warm, liquid eyes. He looked away again, observing a point somewhere far in the distance.

He spoke in a weary voice, "Would you believe me if I told you I am the loneliest, most unfortunate boy in the whole world?"

Ruby felt a tug at her heart. It was disconcerting to hear the child, yet to stand on the cusp of adulthood, speak in tones that conveyed such intense pain. "I wouldn't know what to think until I know more about you. But I can, and do, believe that you are unhappy. Would you like to talk about it?"

The boy spoke again without looking at her, "It is my birthday today. It is also the day I lost my mother, twelve years ago. I was just one year old then. My father tells me she loved bringing me to this park, particularly this spot. So, every year on my birthday, I come here to feel closer to her. I miss her almost unbearably, even though I hardly knew her."

"How did you lose her?", Ruby asked quietly.

"She was taking me home from the park and got hit by a car. She managed to push my pram out of the way before the car ran over her". The answer seemed practiced, almost mechanical. Ruby realized he must have answered this question a thousand times in his life. "What bothers me most is that she never got to know me, her son. She doesn't know the medals and prizes I've won for her, the cards I've made for her on Mother's Day. I don't know if she thinks about me at all".

"I'm sorry to hear that. I too have a baby boy. I love him more than anything in this whole world. Even if I were to die, I would watch over him always. I am sure it is the same with your mother. She is sure to be looking out for you from heaven. And if I were to guess, I would say your father loves you a lot too", said Ruby.

"Oh yes, he does. He is my best friend, the only one who truly understands me. But he misses my mother, probably even more than me. It hurts me to see him heartbroken. He tries to hide it from me and stay upbeat for my sake, but I know how miserable he is every single day. And I can do nothing about it. My father shares his joy with me, but never his sadness. Do you understand now why I am lonely and unfortunate?"

Ruby felt tears pricking at the corners of her eyes. The poor child! To bear such a heavy burden at such a young age. The mother in her saw a lost little boy. She moved closer to him, put her arms about his shoulders and hugged him.

She felt hot tears against her cheek. His tears. They sat together, a mother and a son, in a warm embrace. Time seemed to stop still for them both.

Minutes seemed to meld into years. When they finally broke apart, Ruby felt as though they'd exchanged a lifetime's worth of love.




***

The boy walked up to where his father stood under a tree, looking at the lady on the bench. "Dad, did you see that? Ma hugged me. She really hugged me. I could feel her love flooding in through every pore of my body. I think she remembers me. Do you think she knows, somewhere in the recesses of her mind, that I'm her son? I know Dr. Mathers thinks she can't form memories from after the accident, but she remembered me as a baby."

His father smiled at him. His look held all the tenderness in the world. "I don't think she knows it in her mind. But I believe she knows it in her heart."

27 comments:

  1. loved it....very nice

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  2. Wow, the story really kept me gripped, wonderful writeup :)

    Do check out my post :)
    http://meowconnect.blogspot.in/2013/01/not-your-juliet-really.html

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  3. very nice post...loved it... :)

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  4. I enjoyed reading this very much, Mixi. My wishes for the ending were that Ruby would have been a widowed lady (or divorced if the culture would allow) and could have also consoled the father a little better than the son did.

    Perhaps even there could be a hint of a combined family situation as a possibity. That might would have been a 'Western happy ending' type story?r

    Thank you for reading my poem. Yes, we all are lucky to have survived 2012 although I was never very worried that it be otherwise.
    ..

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    1. Thanks Jim! Your ending would have been nice too :) I tend towards the morose, I don't quite know why!

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  5. wow... what a story.. loved it from start till end.. :-)

    A Rat's Nibble

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  6. awww, such a touching story. Beautifully concluded, Mixi!

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  7. This is just beautiful. No other words.

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  8. Oh, what beautiful story.. very poignant.. expertly told.. great post Mixi.. :)

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  9. awesome twist in the end, very well narrated!and Yes! the heart knows.

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    Replies
    1. The heart always remembers what the brain forgets :)

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  10. Beautiful post :) A well deserved wow! Loved being here!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you and right back at ya :D

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  11. Nice plot. Keep up the good work Mixi.

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  12. Very well written, it remembered me "Notebook" film. i m glad, i had read this post.

    I am a newbie to blogger starts with a short story. if you have time, check it.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Nachi!I'll surely visit your blog!

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