On The Park Bench

As I was walking through the park one day, something caught my eye.It was a young woman, she couldn’t have been older than twenty. Her hair was blonde but was so dirty and matted that it looked brown. Her clothes were tattered and torn and looked as if she had been wearing them for weeks. She was sitting all alone on a park bench without a friend in the world. I was compelled to go and sit beside her. As I did, she looked up to me with the most beautiful sky blue eyes I have ever saw and tears were just streaming down her face.Now, I am a christian and I believe that God works in ways that we may not understand. So when I say I was compelled to go and sit by her I really mean that I felt led to sit down and converse with this woman. So, as I sat down beside her and she looked up at me, my heart almost broke. I was asking myself and God, what has this woman done to deserve this? What was her fatal sin that would bring this tragedy on to her?As I introduced myself, I did as many would, extend my hand out to shake hers. When she tried to shake my hand she didn’t even have the strength to hold on. Her hands were shaking uncontrollably and covered in dirt and grime. And she had a bandage around her wrist that was made out of toilet paper and twist ties. I asked her what her name was and she didn’t reply. So I went on and told her mine.At first, I was doing all the talking. I told her that I was a recent colloege graduate and that I had my first big interview today. And that I thought it went well and that I hope that I get a job because I was already in massive debt because of school. I told her that I attended a local University and that I struggled for a while because I was adjusting to the college life. Now I will have another adjustment period into the real world. At this point she hasn’t said anything, but was listening intently. However, I noticed that she did maintain eye contact.As I was about to go into, what I was studying she stopped me. She looked me in the eyes and grabbed my hands with hers and said, “Thank You.” I looked at her inquisitively and said, “Why?” She then told me her name was Abigail and that she had come from a small town out in the mid-west with dreams of becoming a famous artist. And that her parents had died shortly before she picked up and left. As she spoke my heart became overwhelmed and my ears began to tingle, as if I was listening to an angel speak. She had a soft and subtle tone to her voice that almost sounded as if she was singing.I mustered up the courage to ask her, “What had happened?” And without skipping a beat she began to pour out her heart to me. She told me that after she moved here, she had rented out a small apartment that she described as a broom closet with a stove. And that she had gotten a part time job as a waitress but could barely make rent. At this point I wanted to hand her my wallet and let her have everything in it. So, as I was looking through my jacket pockets her eyes began to well up with tears. She reached out and touched my shoulder and leaned in close. She said that shortly after four months of barely scraping by that she had met an older gentleman that she described as looking like he could be her father. She didn’t mention his name, however she said that he basically swept her off her feet. Got her out of that crumby apartment and she moved into a flat downtown. He persuaded her to quit her job and pursue her craft full time. He said that he would take care of her.Three months went by, she said and they didn’t do as much as kiss. “He was so careful with me and treated me like a daughter rather than a friend.” Then one night as she was about to go to bed there was a knock on her door. It was him. His was belligerently drunk, swaying back in fourth and stumbled into the room. She asked if if everything was alright and he knocked her down. As soon as he did it he said he didn’t mean it and that he was sorry and for her to come to the room with him. So, she went into the room even though she was a little leery about the situation. As she walked by him he got up and locked the door. He then preceded to make passes at her and when she refused because he was drunk he hit her across the face and broke her nose. He then started ripping off her clothes as she was trying to get her bearings. He was screaming obscenities and saying that I have wasted seven thousand dollars on you and you are going to give me what I want. At this point she said that she was covered in blood and he was on top off her and it wasn’t beautiful or passionate but horrible and truthfully undescribable.After he had finished. He put his clothes on and told her to get out of the apartment. That she didn’t live there no more. She said that she had twenty-three dollars and seventeen cents in her pocket. No clothes. No house. And No friends. She was out on the streets with practically nothing. She figured that she would let him sleep it off and that he must’ve had a bad day and that she would come back the next day. So, when she arrived back at the apartment, a different girl answered the door. All of her clothes were gone. Her paintings were gone. All that she had was a broken nose and two black eyes, basically nothing.She then said that she went to the park and sat down on a bench and began to cry. She said that she sat there for two days just crying. On the third day a group of guys came up to her and started taunting her. Then, they took her off the path out into the wooded area of the park and one by one began to rape her. She said that after the first two that she was numb and just laid there. After they did what they did they ran off into the darkness of night. And she just laid there in a puddle of blood and seman. Right then and there she decided that she would end it and take her own life because she wasn’t worth living. She had no purpose in life. She had no family. She had nothing. So, she saw a piece of glass from a broken beer bottle and she cut her wrist.After she had done so, she felt this pressence comforting her and telling her that everything will be alright. That it wasn’t time for her to go. So, she mended her wrist with what she found in the trash and sat down. She said that she sat in the same spot for 2 weeks. Only eating what people had thrown away or on the ground. But she wasn’t going to move from this spot because something told her to stay. Something kept giving her hope. And that’s where I came into the picture.I didn’t know what to say or think. I just sat there looking at her and I began to weep uncontrollably. She wrapped her arms around me and started to comfort me. When all along I was trying to comfort her. By the time I stopped crying my face was pale and I was shaking. I gathered my thoughts for a second and looked at her and said,“Would you like to come to my place and take a shower? Maybe get some clothes and a hot meal?” She smiled and respectfully declined. So, I insisted, thats the least that I could do. I told her that if she wasn’t comfortable, that I would get her a hotel room or that I would sleep in a hotel room. She looked deep into my eyes and said something I will never forget,“You have the kindest eyes I have ever seen and your soul is gentle, I accept your offer.”Thirty years later, I still remember every word of our conversation. I remember every tear. Every breath. And now my heart is breaking again, because My loving wife, devoted mother of three has just been laid to rest. And the headstone reads," I will love you forever and always, Abigail my dearest."

On The Park Bench

tnettles

Joined March 2008

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