Dear Sonja, Melanie & Judith,
The little bench for your grandfather, in the smallest park in the world, was one of my favourite parts of London.
I walked past it almost everyday. It was the halfway point between my campus and where I lived, and the halfway point between the train station and where I lived.
I sat there to catch my breath, to admire fall leaves, or tulips, or crunchy white snow. I sat there to light up a cigarette, to change the playlist on my iPod. I sat there to tell my flatmates or my significant other that I was almost home.
I loved that bench like it was a part of me. That same part broke into little pieces when months later, the significant other and I moved to a new place. Meeting the bench would mean taking the less scenic, less convenient route. It would mean I couldnt pop into the library anymore, and the significant other and I wouldnt be able to do groceries or catch the bus.
Your bench became an indulgence I couldnt make the time for.
The last time I met it, was my last week in London. I took the less scenic, less convenient route. I sat there and thought of many walks. I thought of all the cigarettes Ive smoked at your bench, all the songs Ive hummed. All the conversations it has overhead, all the times it has been the way home.
Most of all, I loved your bench because of whom it was a tribute to. You loved your grandfather the way I always wished I could have loved mine. My earliest regret and the one that never goes away, is that I never knew either of my grandfathers and they never knew me. I wish they knew that I have my fathers hair, and my mothers voice. I wish they knew that I write like my aunt, and that when my cousin sister and I stand side by side, we look alarmingly like sisters.
I wish they knew that I always wish I knew them. The way the three of you knew yours.