He tried to remember where it was, but the picture was a blur teasing him like a jigsaw with missing pieces. He knew the bench sat in front of a sycamore tree on a carpet of grass greener than the rest, flattened by heavy feet and careless paws. It looked out over the city and reminded them of the seaside without the music of the carousel, and the donkeys being forced to carry obnoxious children screaming “giddy-up.”
He remembered the seagulls squawking overhead and when they looked up to the pale blue sky, it was as if they were at the seaside, when they were young enough to make that journey, and too in love to care how far the drive was. She would make egg sandwiches and potato dip, and a flask of hot tea to keep them warm.
It was quarter past ten, and their date was ten thirty, and if he didn’t find that bench she might never return.
“Winston where are you going?”
“To the park. I’m meeting her at ten thirty and its quarter past. I’ll be late.”
“You can’t leave the nursing home Winston come back inside.”
“But I’ll miss Pearl, she’s got a flask of tea. If I’m late she’ll think I forgot. She doesn’t think I remember but I do. Ten thirty every Saturday on the bench.”
“Why don’t I make you a nice cup of tea?”
“In a flask?”
“In a flask.”
“With egg sandwiches? Cut in squares mind, I don’t eat triangles.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
And for a moment Winston forgot about Pearl and their ten thirty date. He forgot about the plaque on the neck of the bench that read ‘to my loving wife, always and forever our bench.’ For now all he could think about was square sandwiches and hot tea.