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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)

TITLE: A Walk in the Park
By Frank Heubner


Tom sat on the rickety park bench. Every time he moved, more of the green paint flaked off, falling to the ground. A swift breeze blew bright yellow, red and orange leaves around him, forming small drifts before scattering them again. Tom had been sitting for a long time, his back and legs ached. Tom watched as a squirrel hurried about its fall harvest, its tail swishing this way and that. Silently wishing his life were as uncomplicated as the squirrel's.
Tom shifted his weight on the bench, causing it to groan and creak like an old man. Tom went back to his squirrel watching, his hands absently passing a small black box back and forth. For several minutes the wind played with the long black hair that Tom combed across his head in an attempt to cover the bald spot that had slowly gotten larger over the years. He made no effort to smooth it back into place. Finally, the wind moved on to another part of the park, carrying with it the sound of children playing. Tom's head dropped a little at the laughter.
Tom groaned as he stood, his legs and back creaking like a rickety old park bench. He put the small black box into the pocket of his wind breaker. Hitching up his pants he slowly started to walk back to his car. Coming towards him down the park path, a young couple walked hand in hand, leaning close to each other against the chilly fall breeze. As they passed Tom, neither of them saw the small well of water gather in Tom's eye. Tom absently patted the box in his pocket, as if to make sure it was still there.
He stepped onto the wooden bridge that crossed a little stream as it wound its way through the park. The bridge's timbers were worn and weathered. The spot was a favorite of young lovers who carved their initials into the rails and beams. Over the years, it had been nearly completely covered in roughly shaped hearts and little cupid's arrows. Some carvings were large, some were small, but all of them proclaimed love for all the world to see. Tom stopped in the middle of the bridge, placing his hands on the top most rail. Tom looked down into the dark water trickling past. Leaves floated by, racing each other over the rocks. After a bit, he smoothed his ruffled hair and turned to finish crossing the bridge. Patting the railing, his hand lingering, tracing the outline of one of the hearts. The heart he traced was worn down so far as to be nearly gone. The wood had cracked and warped making the initials carved within a mystery, unknown, lost to the ravages of time. Lost to every one but Tom.

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This article has been read 354 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Terri Schroeder09/09/10
It was very descriptive and I could picture it all. I wish I had know what happened to his lover though. I assume she died and what you wrote was maybe the beginning of a longer story. Good job!
Kellie Henningsen09/10/10
Very discriptive writing! I chuckled when you said he hitched up his pants. I could really see this story. I'm wondering about the black box -- is it an urn? You might want to pay special attention to how you start your sentences as many of them started with the word "Tom." Breaking it up a bit makes the story less choppy. Really enjoyed this one though!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/11/10
You did a great job of the descriptions I could easily visualize everything in the park. I knew the MC was mourning a lost love but I wanted to know so much more about him I thought for sure he was thinking about jumping off the bridge. Again great job with the vivid descriptions.
Gina Fifo09/13/10
I really enjoyed this. Very vivid descriptions and for the most part nicely written. Above comments are all good critiques. To me, the black box needs an explanation. I don't think you will be a beginner for long! Keep writing.
Sarah Heywood09/14/10
Oh, I enjoyed this - so relieved you didn't have Tom jumping off the bridge at the end! I, too, would like to know what was in the box - his lover's ashes, a ring he meant to give her - ??? Good, descriptive writing!
Catrina Bradley 09/16/10
You really got my emotions going! Good storytelling. I did get distracted by one thing - you used "Tom" in places where "he" would have been sufficient, especially since Tom was the only character.
I assumed the black box contained the ring he didn't get to give to his love. I was wondering if he was going to jump, too, or maybe throw the box into the water. Nice atmospheric piece. I enjoyed it.