Narrative: The Lonely Bench

A cool summery breeze fluttered in through Belinda’s window as she wriggled and stretched, awakening from her slumber. Her mother did not have to wake her; Belinda was already trying to fit her head through her new checkered uniform dress. “Good morning darling…here let me help you with that” said Belinda’s mother. “I’m excited mommy! Let’s go!” “Not yet sweetie, you haven’t had your breakfast.” It was Belinda’s first day at school. A new country, new school and new experience. She waved to her mother with ebullient frenzy as she entered her classroom, Room 01.

“Alright! Get ready for your class test!” Said Mrs Amerworthy, the class teacher, quite unaware of Belinda’s shock. Mrs Amerworthy dictated the letters of the alphabet with short pauses as pens danced in unstable clasps. How could Belinda tell the teacher that she did not know her ABC’s? Tears filled her eyes and dropped to the blank piece of paper, making soft splodges on the white sheet…

At lunchtime, Belinda wandered around with her packed lunch, looking out at the different groups of playmates who collected christmas beetles from the roots of huge trees. At home time, Belinda’s mother came to greet her with a kiss on the cheek. “Hi sweetie! How was your first day?” Belinda shrugged and melted into tears. Her mother reassured her about the test, but that was not the problem; “Mommy, nobody played with me today. I was alone…”Belinda’s mother did not know how to comfort her child, she was at such a tender age when things like this meant the world. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “Tomorrow at lunchtime, how about you ask one of the girls to play with you?” And so she did.

The next day, Belinda went outside and scuttled towards a familiar face. “Hi my name is Linda, can I play with you?” she asked, a sunny smile etched on her face. The girls looked at each other and got into a group huddle. “Umm.. We already have enough people in our group… sorry,” they said. Belinda did not ask again.

Days passed and Belinda grew more upset. One day she woke up and said she didn’t want to go to school. Perhaps Belinda’s mother must have said something as the next day when Belinda entered class, Mrs Amerworthy went and sat beside her. “Do you like your new school? Have you made some friends?” She asked, already knowing the answers. Belinda hesitated. Nothing was more frightening than talking to her teacher! “Linda, how about you sit down on the bench that’s in the middle of the playground? If you don’t have a friend, just sit there and someone nice will come and ask to play with you.”

And so she sat there lunch after lunch and it became routine. She would buy a Popsicle from the baby blue canteen and sit herself on the green bench, hoping that it might just be the day that somebody would ask her to play. Every time a kid walked near the bench she would sit up eagerly. Waves of hope would rise in her little heart only to be shattered on the rocks of disappointment.

There came a day when Belinda became tired of sitting on the bench and instead spent her lunchtimes swinging on the monkey bars. Her little palms were blistered but she didn’t give up. On seeing the blisters her mother asked why she played on the bars even when it hurt. The mother’s heart ached for her daughter when she heard, “On the monkey bars, there are other kids around me and I feel like I have some friends Mommy.”

“Belinda dear,” she spoke, “One day another kid may feel lonely. And she would come sit on the bench too. Don’t you want to make her happy and be her friend? She would want a friend just as much as you.” Belinda realised that it was true. She would wait for that one lonely girl so she could give happiness to get it back.

Time passed and Belinda fell in love with nature. She admired the pine cones that fell from trees above as she sat on what she called The Lonely Bench. Months later on an auburn-autumn afternoon, Belinda noticed a girl with brunette hair, careening around, a little lost and afraid. However she did not come near the Lonely Bench and Belinda thought she would have found another playmate. By the end of lunch, Belinda watched as the girl waddled towards the Lonely Bench. She sat down at the other end, lightly. After a few glances at the new lonely companion, Belinda took a deep breath and counted to three…“Are you lonely like me?” She asked. The new girl tilted her head up and nodded gently…

At long last, the Lonely Bench became the Friendly Bench.

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Published in: on August 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM  Leave a Comment  

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