Photo: © Al Forbes
Three generations of Jimmy’s family gathered around the empty park bench. His daughter Sue, Grandson Simon, and for the first time, Simon’s young son Josh.
Sue took a cloth from her bag and polished the brass commemorative plaque on the bench, until it shone. She then brushed down the whole bench. When she was satisfied that everything looked right, she placed a small poppy wreath next to the plaque. Nothing too flash, he wouldn’t have wanted that.
For many years, this had been Jimmy’s favourite spot. Sitting alone next to the big tree, where he was able to relax and unwind. Sometimes it was to help him remember, other times to help him forget. He thought of that tree as an old friend, and told it secrets that he couldn’t share with anyone else.
As they stood by the bench, Josh wriggled free from his dad’s grip and ran over to the tree. He stretched his arms wide, doing his best to give the trunk a big hug. Sue and Simon gave each other a look, and then joined in. Well, why not?
After a short time, Josh broke his hold on the tree and pointed directly upwards. The wind was gusting through the branches, and for a brief moment, the falling autumn leaves looked like masses of tiny parachutes slowly falling to earth.
Josh looked towards the bench, and just for a second, saw a kindly old man sitting in his favourite spot.
This story is inspired by the photo supplied by Al Forbes of Sunday Photo Fiction, November 8th 2015. For more details click the logo.
To view other stories written for this challenge, please click here.