Of regrets, parks, and 7-UP

She sits alone on the bench, a can of 7-Up on one hand, a blank notebook and pen on the other, picking up her useless, internet-less phone every once in a while, oblivious to the hordes of people passing behind her.

At the moment, her heart is content, yet there’s still that annoying, nagging thought that this is not how it’s supposed to be. Or that this is how she chose it to be and now the weight of regret is starting to weigh down on what she thought was her already callused heart. She looks to her left and sees a young mother and her older husband, with a cute, chubby baby running around. She looks to her right and sees a young couple sitting on the bench, the boy reading a book (an anomaly in this day and for his age), the girl painting the scenery with her hipster water colors, both of them just silently sitting next to each other, breathing in the other yet barely speaking. She hears groups of friends speaking in various tongues and tones, but all obviously basking in the beauty of this place and that day.

And she feels like these are the ghosts haunting her, and she wonders why she is alone on this bench, with a soda in one hand, writing with the other.  And while cute kids weave through the trees, kicking around a football, daring her to come and play with them, again she wonders why this is the path that has led her to this moment, to this bench, amidst the trees in a strange land, alone and pensive, both content and sad all at the same time. And while there are one or two (okay, maybe more) regretful things she’s done in her life up to now, she banishes the ghosts and the trudging pain that threatens to obscure the sun and the green and the laughter and the beauty all around her. She manages to convince herself that this is where she’s supposed to be, really.

And she sits still for as long as she can.