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THE BENCH

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The bench sat in the park by the pond. It'd sat there for years. It'd seen many people come and go - couples, single people, senior citizens, parents with kids who would sail their boats on the pond.

One Friday morning started out like any other morning. The morning sun shone through the leaves of the tree that stood on the banks of the pond. Several morning joggers ran by the bench as they did every morning.

But this morning, one of the joggers stopped at the bench and sat down. He was a blonde haired, blue-eyed man who was obviously in very good shape. He sat there for a few minutes. Then he sighed and asked himself, "What am I going to do?" He was quiet for a few more minutes then continued, "I've fallen in love with my partner - my male partner. I really should tell him, but I'm afraid I'll lose his friendship if I do." He sat there for another few minutes, then said, "I'm going to do it! I'm going to tell him tonight!!" With that, the man stood up and stretched before continuing his run.

The bench wondered what what would happen between the blonde haired man and his partner. It hoped the man would come back and sit on it again and maybe bring his friend. It wondered how long it would have to wait.

About a week later, as the sun was setting, two men approached the bench and sat down. One was the blonde haired man who had been there before; the other, a man with dark, curly hair and eyes the color of a starless midnight sky. The blonde haired man said, "It was right here that I made up my mind to tell you how I feel." Looking around his partner asked, "What makes this spot so special?" The blonde put his arm around his lover's shoulder and gave him a one-armed hug as he answered, "I don't know. I was just sitting here looking at the pond and I suddenly had this feeling of calm assurance come over me and I knew it was safe to tell you."

The two men kissed. When they finally had to separate for air, they sat there quietly just enjoying each other's company. As the stars began to come out, the dark-haired man said, "Let's go home." His blonde haired lover agreed it was time. They stood up and walked off into the darkness.

Over the next couple of years, the two men returned to the bench several times; sometimes alone, but most of the time together. Then one evening, just as the sun was setting, a single black man walked slowly along the path that ran in front of the bench. When he got to the bench, he dropped down with a sigh. He sat there quietly for a few minutes, then with tears streaming down his face he said, "Goodbye, Starsky. Goodbye, Hutch. I'm going to miss both of you, my friends."