A Bench At Midnight

I recently found myself drunk and abandoned in the bowels of downtown near midnight. Being unable to locate my keys, much less drive, I decided to wait for a bus just outside the bar.

Three night owls like myself had already perched there, barely leaving room for me to flop down like a sack of manure.

"She plays the flute," spoke a young, bedraggled woman who looked as if she'd just gotten off work in some cliché diner, "She's really gifted."

Focusing my weary eyes on the woman's hands, I spotted a small school photograph. As soon as I could make out the smiling little girl's face, the picture was quickly stowed in the purse from whence it had come.

"Take a look at this and tell me you're not jealous!" laughed a fat, bald man as he leaned over and extracted a wallet from the back of his already overburdened pants.

The man threw open his wallet casually, like a cop showing off his badge. Two photos resided therein. One depicted a young boy in a soccer uniform. The other, a girl of the same age holding a kickboxing trophy. Both were blonde, beautiful, and identical.

"Ooh, twins!" the tired-looking woman cooed, "You're going to have your hands full!"

At that point I was already peering at the ancient, matronly woman on the far end of the bench. I had wondered what she was doing out so late at night, but the way she was rifling through her large, cluttered handbag quickly stole my attention.

"Oh, I know I have it here somewhere." The slight, elderly woman fussed, "Goodness gracious, I have to organize this thing!"

Finally, her boney hands drew out a small, white book with kittens adorning its cover. She sighed, stroked the glossy surface with her wrinkled fingers, and shot a proud smile to the three of us.

"This is Peter," she opened the book and pointed, "This is Marshal… and this is Kyle. This is… Meagan? … No, Maggie. Meagan is the one with red hair. I swear, it gets harder and harder to keep track. Here's Donald. He's already in a debate club if you can imagine that!"

The old woman must've shown off fifteen to twenty children, and she seemed more excited by each one as she went. When the exhibit was complete, she let out a delighted sigh and delicately returned the book to her bag.

"I don't know how you do it." the fat man shook his head and smirked.

"I have enough trouble with one." the waitress smiled sadly.

Then, the focus turned to me. I'd been listening… eavesdropping, really… and they had noticed. The three of them looked me over, smiling politely.

"How about you, sweetheart?" the old woman asked.

"Yeah," the fat man sat forward with interest.

"What are your dinner plans?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License.