The Peter’s Park bench was made of very sad, decaying wood; the kind you’d imagine was once painted a rich shade of mahogany before it had begun collecting termites, bird’s droppings, clumps of bubble gum and unoriginal graffiti. To the untrained eye, it appeared to be a crooked, splintery seat you’d dare not place your bottom on in fear of it collapsing beneath you, or of spiking yourself with old, rusty nails, or even in the best interest of your hygiene. Of course I was just as ignorant as the rest, in absolute disbelief that the ancient, weathered hunk of rotting timber could ever be anything more than just that.
It was April 1st 2002, a pretty boring day in world history, if you ask me. I remember quite clearly that it was a Monday, too. A terribly horrible, horrible Monday spent in Ames Public High, studying arithmetic and counting down the minutes until the bell would finally sound and I would be free to leave. I know that as soon as the bell had gone I dashed down the main corridor, the first ever iPod gripped in my sweaty palms and my rucksack flapping away on my back as I made my way to the park. Joey had said he would meet me at the Peter’s Park bench with his father’s car at 4pm, and then we would drive to Suzanne’s house. I still wasn’t sure what he planned on doing once we arrived, but my stomach was already knotted in anticipation of riding in a car without an adult, let alone getting somewhere in it! Let alone getting to Suzanne’s.
I waited for Joey for a full hour, standing next to the awful bench as I jiggled my legs and fiddled with my Nokia. Where was he? He was running very late, and soon it would be dark. At exactly 5pm I plopped onto the bench in a huff, swinging my bag up onto the seat next to me. I can’t really recall what propelled me to sit on that bench; after all, I could have dropped to the ground if I were too tired to stand any longer. Nobody sat on the Peter’s Park bench; it was foul, unsafe, and something the council should have disposed of long ago.
I waited a few extra minutes, fidgeting and wishing he would turn up. I had been looking forward to our adventure all day, and now he had ditched me. What a great mate. I pushed myself up off of the bench, sighing as I did so. I figured I’d better start walking home, or else my mum would freak. I took a step away from the seat, but...