Like bookends, they sat on a bench, each at opposite corners. Strangers, they were, by chance in the same park at the same time. They both had stories, maybe not to tell, but unlike books, they both had unfinished endings.
One was a woman, covered up to her chin with a classy shawl; the other wore a raincoat, a distinguished-looking gray-haired ageless man. They both shared an air of sadness, of repent and maybe a tint of despair; as if their eyes could speak on their own the stories they wouldn’t tell.
They didn’t know that they both shared the same pain brought on by regret. The regret of missed chances, wrong turns, and broken hearts. They both stared ahead at nothing. They were lost in thought oblivious to each other’s presence.
A couple of hours went by in this way, each sitting quietly in their corner, breathing with heartbreaking difficulty. Feeling trapped in their aging bodies that couldn’t go back and change anything, or worse, stop time and start over at youth.
Dusk crept in and as if by cue they both snapped out of their personal trances and steadied themselves up. This was when they finally noticed each other. When their eyes met they wordlessly acknowledged each other, as well as their profound sadness. She smiled slightly first and nodded, he nodded back and smiled too as if saying, “I know…”
They left the bench, each heading in opposite directions, smiling to themselves. A spark, a jolt of recognition hit them both. They would come back tomorrow, at the same time and maybe, life would give them a second chance.
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