The Park Bench (adapted from Scarlet Letter Revisited)


She looked over her shoulder one last time. It was a long lingering glance on a park bench; their bench. She wiped the tear from her eye as she saw a tall man sit down. He appeared bent, burdened.

****

She clapped her hands in glee. “Mommy i can’t wait to get to the pony ride can’t we go – pleezzzzz.”

“‘Yes my dear let me finish packing our lunch.”

They were attending a lunch sponsored by the church in the city park. There would be games and prizes, clowns, ponies, balloons and cotton candy.

“Your type isn’t welcome here ma’am.” The gentleman smiled as he looked at the mother and daughter. “This here’s a church social.”

“Please can’t I ride the ponies and have some cotton candy?” the little girl asked trying not to cry.

“I’m sorry wouldn’t be right. They wouldn’t approve.” The man said glancing over his shoulders at a group of women in their Sunday best.

The mother and the daughter went to the far edge of the park, sat on a bench, and ate their lunch while many eyes peered scornfully.

***

The  girl,now a beautiful young woman, had learned how to navigate around the influential  people in their very small town. She wasn’t bitter. She just didn’t understand what the bias was; why people couldn’t like her.

“Please come to the movies. The tall young man asked her.” This was the twentieth time he had tried to ask her on a date.

She was tired of finding excuses to say “no.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to go out with him. It’s what the townspeople will say if they see us together.”  She sighed after setting the phone into its cradle.

“Yes I will go with you,” she said after the twenty-sixth call.

And so it began – lunches, trips to the beach, nights kissing under the stars on a park bench.

“Marry me and spend the rest of your life as my wife. Let me love you always.” he said as he held her close on their bench.

“Yes, my love.” She whispered into the misty night.

They were in heaven as they glided over the preparations and the anticipation of life together.

She had longed to be accepted by one person in society. It was enough to be loved by this man even if the rest continued to place the burden of unacceptance and reproach on her shoulders.

“You can’t marry her. Don’t you know who her mother is?”

“I’m not marrying her mother. She is sweet and innocent; the people have marked her without knowing her.”

“You will ruin our family’s good name!”

He would have easily endured the scorn had it been aimed at him once or twice. Everyday, at least once, his mother aimed her artillery at his heart. Everyday she spewed forth insults.

She saw that he was worn, unhappy. She clasped his hands as they sat on their bench. She gently took a tear from her eye and placed it on his cheek where it mingled with his own.

“My heart is broken and I see no way out.” He cried into the air.

She wrapped his fingers around a tiny box. “This is the only way out for us, my dear. I love you. Go find someone who will make you happy and accepted by society.”

She stood up. Not wanting him to see her heart breaking she ran to her car.

***

That day, years later, she saw him on their bench. Because he loved her so much he had taken on the pain and suffering that society had directed toward her. He was bent over looking like an old man with a heavy burden.

Theme Thursday is a great place to read and write short stories. Our prompt this week: Park

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Published by moondustwriter

Thank you for visiting Moondustwriter. One of the many exciting things I've had the honor of doing is writing with an E. African team that is developing elementary curriculum for African children. As a writer, it is a thrill to help children (on all continents) who want to learn. I've been part of the blogging community for more than 10 years. Some old timers may remember the award winning (2011 Twitter Shorty ) blog community - One Stop Poetry. I was the co-producer of that fast growing blog community. I am a published writer, poet, artist and photographer. I have written, as well as edited, for periodicals, radio, blogs and fellow writers. There are many facets to this moon - thanks for stopping by.

34 thoughts on “The Park Bench (adapted from Scarlet Letter Revisited)

      1. God gammel e5rgang du har paseut pe5 her, men alder er ingen hindring, for faktum er at de eldste benkene er de koseligste e5 sitte pe5 av en eller annen grunn. Ha en fin helg Rune, og takk for kommentarer 🙂

        Like

  1. Well, that just broke my heart, didn’t it? 😦

    Poignant though. Reminds me that everyone else’s prejudices be damned when it comes to important matters of the heart. Wonderfully told, Moon. 🙂

    Like

  2. Hmmmm…
    Leslie…You make the most inanimate objects seem like National Monuments to Love!
    How do you do it?
    What a mind….G

    PS…Hawthorne would be very proud

    Like

  3. Aww.. the things people do for/in love..
    A beautifully written piece, I must say!!! It had me hooked! Ofcourse I kept hoping for the best…but then, who wouldn’t! 🙂
    A moving story, Moon…yet again!

    Like

  4. A beautifully written story. And the unhappy ending was more realistic. Life often throws us a curve, and endings aren’t always happy ones. Great job on this week’s TT.

    Like

  5. Aww I hate stories of unrequited love, I’m such a romantic at heart. I like the way you’re not obvious about their point of difference, class, race, background . .although you hint at a mother’s dubious past but it still leaves it nicely open to interpretation.

    Like

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