She could still feel him in the air. Sitting next to her on that worn out seat. She could almost smell the sweet tobacco of his pipe. How many years had they sat on that bench...holding hands, sharing a kiss, remembering the day he asked her to be his? The bench was new then with a fresh coat of paint and nestled among the old oak trees in the corner of the back yard of a house they could finally call their own. Oh how they had to scrimp and save those beginning years. They would plan their future on that bench and it was there they figured out how to stretch those pennies to feed another mouth.
She drew her shawl across thin shoulders and smoothed the gnarled seat with a hand much the same. So many plans, so many dreams over the years and so many secrets that bench was privy to. Like the day she almost lost him to another. She raced to the bench and let the tears soak into the wood. How could she have missed the signs? Oh how she hated those dark nights where voices raised in anger and tears fell like rain. But somehow they made it through and their bond became stronger as they sat on that bench and watched their children grow.
Fifty years was a long time to share with that bench. They even talked about replacing it once, but decided it would be like losing a member of the family. And so they sat and grew old together. Until one day they carried him away in the rain and her cries echoed through the home they had built together. Now she sat on that bench just to catch a whiff of his pipe, to feel his spirit sitting next to her. In those last months he kept reminding her that death is just another part of living. She remembered him telling her just like that old bench, their love had followed the seasons and soon it would be time for another bench...and other lives...to take their place and dream the dreams to come.
To honor him, she sat on that bench and drank in the memories of a life well lived and a love shared with another. He would wait for her, somewhere in the beyond, but these days it's just her and that bench. And for now, that's enough...