Down an alley that branches off from the church, there’s a bench where I sometimes go and sit after dark. The bench is damp and hasn’t been painted in years, and I’m pretty sure no one else uses it apart from me. Which is good, because it’s my bench, now. All around it, there are trees that are not dead but are hardly what you call living, and they shield me from the windows of the houses nearby. It’s a seedy place to hang around, but smoking my cigarettes while listening to the far away sounds of town makes me feel just right. Not too close, and not too distant. That’s my preferred state. I let others get near, but then I keep them at arm’s length because these secrets of mine deserve respect and I can’t go allowing the grubby hands of others to come and smear them with the grease of their oily ways. Not often, anyhow. There are no animals, well, none that I see, but there’s the distant light of stars, and each one makes me feel less alone in a universe that will surely forget me the instant I’m gone. We’re just ants on a rock is all. Just pieces of dust circling a ball of flame. Miracles for sure, but no more than mere accidents. Accidents that come and go amidst the billions upon billions of light years either side of our arrival and then our quiet demise. Such a thought makes me shake, but then I laugh at the absurdity of it, and my fear soon subsides. Such laughter hardly seems fitting, but it’s all I’ve ever had to give when faced with the threat of non-existence. Ringing out in the near silence, it makes me grin and I laugh even louder. Kicking the leaves at my feet, I take out my keys and scratch your name into one of the wooden panels of the bench. What a curious thing. I’m sure there are many that would deem such an act to be peculiar, but to me, it’s born out of love. My secret love for you, and for the love of such lonesome moments no one else will ever know because no one else takes the time to see things differently.