The old man on the bench is a flash fiction story I wrote a few years ago. It is about the importance of human connection and understanding. I decided to post it here because I think it fits in well with the theme of this blog.
Every morning old Jeremiah Stuart took his coffee mug and his cardboard sign down to the park bench. He placed the sign on the bench next to him and sipped his coffee, waiting.
The sign read: SIT HERE FOR REWARDING CONVERSATION.
No one did.
Every evening old Jeremiah Stuart picked up his sign and his coffee mug full of change and returned to his million-dollar apartment, where he ate dinner alone and went to bed alone.
He had no family, no friends, no pets, no one with whom to share the last few weeks of his life.
And so it went, morning and evening the same routine, day after day. He tried other park benches, other places. Some days he returned home with more change than other days, but always there was change. No one sat down beside him to talk.
One night he laid down to sleep and did not wake again. When his passing was finally noticed and his decaying body found, there was on his nightstand a note:
Just wanted to give my fortune to somebody nice.
Now it’s too late. Disease took me.