My Bench

My Depression Bench is sturdy, only somewhat rotted through, and well located. I strutted to it the other day as the heatwave cured itself to typical Scottish spring. My fever had just broken and I was feeling feisty and filled with an alarming capacity for truth, thinking if I could at least strip the bench of its title then sadness itself would die. Like, the very concept of sadness! In retrospect I don’t know if the fever had entirely gone.

I sit on it and chain smoke and eat bits of sundried tomato bread from a bag I have with me. I smile and close my eyes. This all plays out in my head:

Spurred on by mother, I climb down thick, thirsty roots and into a jauhar pit. This is what the women in my family do: preservation at any cost, even if by self-annihilation. This is the promise I made to the universe when I became a woman, and now it’s asking me to pay up. I wait for someone to throw a lit match in – it’s oddly cold.

I’m floating away on My Bench now, a child’s imagining of heaven, a cherub on a fauvist cloud, and the bench is just a bench now, flying through time and space and out of the atmosphere and into the forever.

My Depression Bench is being forcibly neutered. It will retain its sturdiness, its rust, its location, but it will be stripped of its weight when it becomes just any other bench. It will take on such lightness that it may well fly away like Balloon Boy. It will have to be tethered to make sure that doesn’t happen; other people need to use it. It is a perfectly good bench, and I hope the best for it, come what may. The sun is shining on my face and yes, the rain will come back and strip the bench of its paint, rot it to nothing, but it’s just a bench now, any other natural object to fall into eventual ruin. Fuck the bench! Long live happiness!