Years past, bushes and undergrowth grew ever higher in the abandoned garden. Once so full of sun-shine and summer glow, now the pathway seems to go through a mysterious forest, something you might have read about in a fantasy novel.
The old wooden bench, rotting now, had been where James and Maryanne sat with a wide space between them, as was proper for their age. The space slowly became smaller and smaller ’til their arms touched, they held hands. Their first kiss, under a misty moon on a summer’s eve, told them that they were made for one another.
He asked her to marry him on that bench, showing her a small diamond solitaire. She of course said yes. Returning from their honeymoon, they’d walk through the garden afer work, then sit on “their” bench enjoying the fireflies flitting and the cool evening breeze.
Their son was born in 1915, on the day that the great war began. Of course they couldn’t have known that at the time, but in later years, Mark would tell his new acquaintances his birthdate adding the factoid. They would take the babe in his carriage on Sunday mornings after church and eat pastries, laughing and remarking about the passersby.
In 1917, James was drafted into the army. His country, like a knight on a white horse, had decided to save fair England from falling to the Hun, though that’s not what the papers said. They said that an American ship had been wantonly torpedoed by the Germans who’d broken their promise not to fire indiscriminately on ships in the North Atlantic …
James died one dark moonless night in a trench somewhere near the French-German border, up to his knees in the sucking mud that had formed after a week of rain. Some officer nominated him for a purple cross and a medal of honor. Mark still has them in a glass case.
Maryanne was never the same. She soon left the country and went to live in Australia with Mark, opened a restaurant in Brisbane which had a certain success. She never remarried and died in 1939.
The bench sits rotting in the over-run garden abandoned … ah, the stories it could tell you, never written still unknown. Simple stories that will never see the inside of a history book.
the bench rots
under a jungle of bushes
Written for Leanne Cole’s : A Photo That Inspires Words