Love as Warm as Stone

I wrote both this story and the poem Cupid last night in the span of about twenty minutes. It’s odd how the dichotomy of love works, changing inside one’s mind and heart so quickly.

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This is not a typical love story–because what, if anything, is typical about love?  Nobody feels love the same as another, especially in this next instance.

He stood overlooking the lake for as long as he could remember–through night and day and the changing seasons.  He’d seen families of ducks grow, mature and fly away; he’d seen the swimmers come to stave off heat and the skaters when the lake was a sheet of ice; he’d heard the music echo up from the nearby colonnade where concerts were held on brisk autumn nights and the eerie coyote howls in the twilight of early spring; through all of this, the old wooden bench in front of him remained.  It was not precisely the same, for he was a very old statue indeed, so the bench was repaired and replaced on many occasion, but it still felt the same to him.

On this particular morning, a young couple arrived to sit and the girl was crying.  The statue couldn’t hear their exact words but he didn’t need to.  After a moment, the boy got up and slowly walked away until the statue could no longer see him.  The girl stayed on the bench for a long while, with her face in her hands, sobbing.  The statue wanted to speak to her, hold her, console her, tell her things will change for the better.  He knows, because he watches the lake, year after year.  But he couldn’t.  He couldn’t move or whisper or console and eventually, solemnly, she left.  The next few days were torturous for the statue–his usual sights and sounds could not sate his emotion and only when the girl returned was he relieved.  When he noticed her crying again he felt a pang of guilt.  Again he wished he could intervene, provide comfort, but it was futile.

She returned almost weekly, her mood always the same, but then her visits became sporadic until finally she did not return at all.  The statue mourned for her, silently, the only way he knew how.  The lake seemed empty to him now–somehow the beauty it once held was a veil, suddenly lifted in the absence of the girl.  It remained this way for days, weeks, years, decades–he couldn’t be sure.  Time for the statue was a powerful constant which he had no grasp upon.

And then one day she did return.  Not as he remembered her, yet he was certain she was the same girl that used to visit.  She sat down on the bench, his bench, the same bench where she whimpered and cried so many tears all those years ago.  Beside her sat a handsome young man who was laughing heartily and smiling at her, while between them on the bench, with his legs jittering wildly, sat a little boy.  At that moment the girl turned around and looked up the hill behind her.  The statue couldn’t be certain, but maybe, finally, she was looking at him.

-B.W. Gladney

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2 thoughts on “Love as Warm as Stone

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