Belmont High School
The park bench was old, rusty and peeling. Standing on short, stout legs and painted an earthy green. The nails were chipped and flaky. She always sat on that bench. She was old and batty, some said crazy. But she just sat and watched the boats go by in the bay, and she would occasionally throw bread to the ducks. She had been sitting on that bench for as long as she could remember. She could feel the memories etched into the wood.
The park bench was glossy, new and shiny. A little girl of about five climbed up in her little dress. Her father sat down, decked out in his army uniform. He was about to go to war, and the ships were leaving today on a long journey to Egypt, to defend his country. He held her hand and told her that he would be home soon, and together they waited on this little bench as many different ships peeled off towards the setting sun. He kissed her hand and promised to write to her every day. She laughed and told him that she loved him and he scooped her up and made his way to the pier to join his wife.
The park bench was dirty. Graffiti strewn over the surface and the paint faded. Chips were beginning to appear. A girl of ten opened a letter in the summer breeze. It was the last letter she had gotten in a while. She got it the same day her mother received a yellow telegram. Daddy never sent telegrams, so it was strange. Her mother had begun to cry and scooped her up in her arms, just like her daddy did. Her mother said that Daddy would be fighting over there forever. This made the youngster sad; she missed her dad and all she got were letters, but she decided it was better then nothing. This letter she was opening on the bench was a lovely long letter. He told her about where he had been and the amazing sights he had seen he told her how much he loved her. Over and over again, she was everything to him and he promised that one day he would be home and they would go get ice cream. This made the girl smile because her dad always let her get a double scoop.
The girl began her letter back, ‘Mummy must have made a mistake, she said you would be over there fighting forever.’ She had a neat scrawl for a ten year old. She told her dad about all the wonderful things she was learning at school and she told him how much she missed him and that she was going to give him the biggest bear hug she ever had when he came home. She said that her favorite time of the week was when she got to read her letters from him. She finally closed the envelope, licked the stamp and gave it to the lovely woman in the post office, telling her all about her precious daddy.
Now she was old, almost ninety. She stood back, watching as the trucks and the bright men in orange began to pull up the bench. One leg, two, three four — they didn’t even bother to fill in the holes. Putting the dismantled wood in the back of a truck — it was off to the landfill to be mulched. She watched and suddenly she saw herself and her dad. He was dancing with her, twirling her round and round on their temporary stage. She stood enraptured as she watched the small fading memory. Only interrupted by the roar of the truck, she watched as the small girl disappeared with a smile, fading back into history, like the park bench, like her father, her mother and now her.
Eliza Barry is currently in year 8. She loves writing, reading, dance, music, stars and summer, just to name a few. She would love to become a forensic scientist and an author when she leaves school, but for now she is happy writing and counting down to the holidays.