The old man who sat on the bench in the park
One day, I was in the beautiful park, walking my dog, a cute puppy sheepdog; white with black spots all over (including small, black patches over both eyes). He was called Lucky. The sun in the park was beaming and burning, roasting my back delightfully. Ducks bobbed merrily in the lapping waves of the pond, multicoloured frogs bouncing from one lily pad to another lily pad and butterflies and bees were buzzing around, collecting nectar from the colourful flowers nearby. People were chatting loudly, pushing their buggies along the yellow, sandy path, while others were sitting on blankets on the emerald-green, luscious, freshly grown grass and digging into scrumptious picnics, munching away.
There stood the weeping willow tree, its long, swaying branches moving to and fro in the sweet, countryside breeze. But an old man was sitting on the bench I usually sat on, his feet lingering above the soft ferns below, a sad, lonely expression plastered onto his face. My pace quickened as I strolled over towards him confidently.
The old man’s face rose as I approached him, his expression more worried.
“It’s OK,” I reassured him gently. “I saw you looking lonely and I only came here to try and cheer you up.”
The man’s face softened and he looked happier. He patted the seat next to him and I tied Lucky to the legs of the beautifully carved bench, sitting down.
“I’m actually not lonely, my dear,” the old man replied croakily. “I’m just upset. Very melancholy. Let me tell you what happened.”
I made myself comfortable and listened hard, trying to be polite.
“My wife died of cholera when it spread out in London, and it was very bad and serious,” began Mr Ronald, which was his name. “I didn’t catch it because I stayed well clear of it and I ate extra healthily to prevent myself from getting any more diseases."
"My wife, Mrs Ronald, before she caught the disease, always came to this park, she had done so ever since she was little. So she wanted to make memories of it. At least I still have memories of her, thank goodness–” Mr Ronald sighed, a small, shiny tear balanced on top of his eyelash delicately, then rolled down his pale, wrinkly cheek– “She always came to sit down on this bench under the willow tree."
"But now those special moments have disappeared, slipped away from me - and no matter how hard I try to grasp onto them, I will never get them back. But at least this will remind me of her whenever I come to this park.”
Lucky whined, as if he was responding to the story. Mr Ronald sniffed and pointed to a gold copperplate nailed to the top of the bench, which said, ‘In memory of Julie Ronald, who was the wife of Sam Ronald, who dearly loved her.’
I smiled sadly and hugged the old man and said that I would be there for him always, no matter what.