To the woman on the bench

~ a fictional letter-story ~


To the woman on the bench left of the crabapple tree by the fountain, who wears that coat with all the buttons and I think has black hair but might just have really dark brown hair, and who yesterday was looking much sadder than usual —

Hi. I’m Jon. This is weird, I know. My “To” line alone makes me sound like your typical Creepy Guy, but I wanted to make sure I was addressing the right person. I’m not, like, watching you or anything, or stalking, or in any way being any weirder than simply leaving this letter for you. That’s the height of my weirdness, I promise. Well, I do have a lot of Star Trek quotes memorized, but that’s a whole different kind of weird and anyway it’s a good show, so, no shame.

Like I said, I promise I’m not watching you, but I did notice we come to the park at the same time most days. When a pattern repeats this frequently you can’t help but notice; it’s a simple matter of observation. You read here a lot and on my way out past your bench sometimes I’ll glance at the cover to see if it’s something I might like to check out myself, because I like books, but I don’t read nearly as much as I wish I did, which is something everybody says and it’s a lame excuse, I know. If you want time, make time, right? Isn’t that what they say?

Anyway, yesterday you were looking much sadder than usual. I mean, sometimes you look a little pensive or concerned or maybe a tiny bit blue, but yesterday took the cake. And it made me feel like… I mean, I see you all the time, we’re always at this park on the same days only a few yards apart, but we’ve never spoken. Modern life is pretty alienating, isn’t it? So much separation and isolation and keeping people at arm’s length. And here you were, another human being, in the park, just like me, obviously going through SOMETHING, all alone, and I don’t know, I guess I felt like I should reach out.

This is a weird thing to do, I get it. This letter might not even reach you, but I’m going to put it under a rock on your usual bench right before you usually get there, and I’m going to write in big Sharpie letters on the envelope “READ ME,” so I guess what I’m saying is I hope you’re the curious type.

What is my point here… I guess my point is that if you ARE going through something, well, I know the feeling. I’ve gone through my fair share of troubles and it’s nice to not feel so alone in it. So consider this an invitation (but with no pressure whatsoever – it’s totally up to you) to come over to my bench and talk if you want. I know I’m a guy and I know what guys are known for but I’m not here to flirt with you or ask you out or anything like that. I’m not even sure I want to do that with ANYONE right now, so it’s not like that, I promise. Just one person looking out for another.

If this letter hasn’t sent you running for the hills, then you can find me on the other side of the fountain where the daffodils are. I think they’re daffodils anyway. I’m not good with flowers. The yellow ones, ha ha. I’ll be wearing this big, goofy Pilgrim’s hat. I wore it for a school play when I was a kid. My mom made it out of felt with a big, goofy buckle on the front and everything. Crazy that it still fits me. I must have had a big head as a child. Or a regular head that never grew. Anyway, I found it when I was clearing out her house a few months ago after she killed herself. Yeah, see, that’s one of my Things I’ve Gone Through. Still going through, maybe, you could say. Anyway, I wanted to wear something unmistakable so you could find me.

If this creeps you out – and I’d understand if it did – then I won’t come back to the park again. I don’t want to ruin this place for you or make you uncomfortable so I’ll just pick another one, no problem.

So yeah. I guess I’m at the end of this letter. Sorry it was so long and rambley, I’m not actually like this in person, I’m usually really quiet. It’s just once I get the pen in my hand it all comes pouring out, like a, I don’t know, I guess I could say like a faucet but that’s too cliché. I may be wordy but I never said I was good at it! Ha ha. But yeah I won’t talk your head off like this. I’ll almost definitely be scared out of my wits the second you come over because I’m really shy, like painfully shy, but this seemed important enough to take the risk.

Jon, the Weirdo in the Pilgrim Hat by the Yellow Flowers (Maybe Daffodils)


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