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The bench was once a sea boat, one that had ridden so many waves with buoyant ease, feeling the sun and letting the wind pass by with its tuneful song. Now the colours of every year she was painted show through in rainbow flakes, rendering her all the more beautiful, safely in her earthen harbour.

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The bench was typical of the parks, the rosy cedar browns married to the iron that curved into the great arms and grew into ever-blooming flowers to rest on.

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The bench was a turquoise that reminded me of the ocean under brilliant summer rays. I let my eyes wander the surface, lingering briefly on the patches that were almost greenish and shaped like islands in the blue. Without thinking of doing so I removed a glove and let my fingers fall to the surface, feeling the heat of the day that had soaked into the metal. Only here such a thing could remain, here in the walled garden. This much copper is worth a fortune on the black market...

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The bench had been exposed to the elements for many seasons, likely it was older than Lara was. It had come to resemble driftwood, the bright tones of its once fresh state had become a sombre brown, but beautiful. She ran her fingers over the swirls in the wood grain, being so close to the ocean it was likely just as infused with salt from onshore breezes and the wintry gales that even made the air taste of brine. She turned to sit, feeling the slight give in the wood, any creak being lost beneath the sound of the waves on the pebbled beach if faced. She sat, not with the impatience of one waiting for a bus, but with the feeling of one savouring the moment. She felt the wind tousle her hair, cool, refreshing and let her eyes fall on the ocean, the horizon. She wondered how many had sat in this very spot and what their emotions were, perhaps some were newlyweds in love, some confused teenagers searching for meaning, some the old folk come to remember a loved one who's passed. She was none of those things, neither at the beginning of her life or the end, but old enough to cherish moments instead of wishing them away.

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The bench was fresher than the torn branches on the grass, the cedar bright under the sun and raindrops beaded on the perfect varnish. Lily wiped at the rain with her hand, spreading the water into a congealing smear rather than removing it.

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If I were to build a bench it would be several planks of wood crudely nailed together and when I was done it would look like a middle school project gone badly wrong. Barry, however, is different. When he sees the wood there's a light that dances in his eyes and he treats it with such love and reverence. He eyes the grain, feels it with his hands and then puts down his tool belt while he sketches a design, punches buttons on his calculator and adds measurements. Even when the bench is built and beautiful beyond anything I could hope to achieve he isn't satisfied. He begins to carve designs into the wood and sand it until it is as smooth as glass. Once it is stained it's truly a masterpiece, a bench you could sit on and wonder about the mysteries of the universe. Barry might look like an ice-age neanderthal, but he's a genius artist in my book and his work is always a thing of beauty.

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The bench looked like the boys had lifted it from a downtown bus stop. The top was gouged wood and the legs dented metal with chipped red paint. Tilda felt her insides tighten, but to really rage at them properly she'd have to storm passed the stack of stolen hub-caps in the hallway...

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The bench was imposing, more of a throne than a casual seat for a garden. The high ornate arms rose on each side and the back was tall with carvings. Primrose clambered on and Eddie beside her, the seat being plenty roomy enough for two.

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The bench was carved from a winter fallen tree, the root ball still sticking out of one end and part of the trunk from the other. It made it low to the ground but the kids loved it more than any other seat in the park. Sitting there with their sandwiches they nibbled like the squirrels, as if the contact with the tree sparked their imaginations into thinking like woodland creatures.

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"Drake, that's not a bench."

"It's a bench."

"It's a seat ripped out of a bus. Wreckers yard?"

"Free is good right. Nothing beats free."

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The backdrop of Haiti was magnificent but poor old Lola could only whimper at its aching grandeur and she took rest upon a battered up oaken bench. Her grandchildren pleaded her company on this escape and she obliged, not having the heart to express her true hatred for this place, this specific location, this specific bench. A vivid history woven into its faded carvings. Lola ran her withering hand over an eon old writing. "Etched in wood,it will remain for all eternity my love, it will outlive us, this common bench and the words it holds" Lola was strained her old eyes upon the bespattered wood. She felt its knowledge seep into her hands. She could hear what was made and what broke on this bench.

By brokencrown, January 4, 2018.