The gate swung absentmindedly in the evening breeze.
What would it be like to be cleaned and painted like the Hendersonís gate across the street? I canít remember the last time a clean rag or a paintbrush touched my timbers.
In fact the only hands that the gate knew were rough, calloused hands that slammed it into place and kicked it unmercifully when it did not lock.
I donít mind the neglect. Really. Itís just the pleasure of sparkling and functioning properly seem so delightful.
The days went by in slow motion for the decaying gate. It stared at the busy pedestrians and motorists with much interest.
Where do they go in such a hurry? Oh, no, here comes my owner. He looks angry again today.
With an abrupt kick, the man opened the creaking gate and walked through to an even more mistreated yard. With a low snarl of disapproval, he entered his house and locked the door to the outside world.
Each day itís always the same. He comes home after work with a bottle of wine and refuses to face the reality of life.
I can remember a time when I swung on well-oiled hinges and my lock shut with a sharp metallic click. A little girl and a tall elegant woman walked proudly by my ownerís side. They always seemed so happy and cheerful.
I have not seen the girl and her momma since my top hinge started creaking.
With a deep groan the gate reminisced, and then sunk further into the despair eventually felt by those neglected.
If only I could be useful. I want to do what I was intended for - keep out those unwanted and protect those inside. Iím not worth anything like I am now.
One day, after having been bashed around many times, the gate saw someone who frequently passed through his gleaming pickets in the old days.
This man, with a spring in his step that defied his elderly appearance, walked up to the gate. With a gentleness it had not felt in many months, the gate was eased open on its screeching hinges.
How wonderful it is to be treated with respect! I hope he can teach my owner a thing or two.
The wise-looking man then knocked on the door to the uncared for house. The look of surprise on his ownerís face made the little gate pleased.
Anything must be better than anger!
What shocked him even more was that this man was allowed inside! As the door shut behind them, a hope surged in the rotting timber facing the chipped door.
Hours passed before the elderly man tenderly opened and closed the gate with care.
What did they talk about for so long? Their conversation was uttered in quiet voices so I could not hear. Is this a good or a bad sign?
The following morning the gate saw a clean-shaven, bright-eyed owner walk towards him. The openness and kindness in his eyes reflected the morning sun. With a tender heave, the gate felt himself being removed from his place.
Oh no, where I am going now? The trash-heap?
However, the cruelty he expected was not performed, because his owner began to replace all his weary and worn parts. A new lock was even fastened on after he received a coat of fresh white paint.
Wow, this feels fantastic! Iím going to be like new!
When the gate was replaced upon its new hinges and swung into its place, it beamed with satisfaction. It could now fulfill its purpose!
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