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On The Park Bench

Waiting for Saffa on the park bench, I was beginning to think the only kiss I’d get today was from the sun. But it wasn’t the heat that was making me sweat the most, and surprisingly it wasn’t the fact this was our first face-to-face meetup either; it was more so the crazy guy being arrested just a moment ago. It just shook me. He was acting off his head; red, sweating, and screaming. I'm glad the police arrived when they did because he’d just jumped into the duck pond, and I have a hunch it wasn’t because he wanted to feed them. And speaking of feeds, I now realise I haven’t checked my social media at all today… that’s a first. Taking my phone out, I notice an unread message from Saffa: Which direction am I gonna come from? 

Well, that’s not ominous at all. Before I even get the chance to look around, I’m jumped from behind and a quick pair of hands grab my arms, holding them in place.


“Gotcha!”


“SAFFA!” I cry out, “You’re not allowed to touch my biceps without warning! I didn’t get a chance to flex yet!”


Saffa laughs and hops over, sitting next to me. 


“Hi Riley, good to finally see you,” she beams as she goes in for a semi-awkward sideways hug. 


As I embrace her, her curly brown hair falls into my face and my eyes begin to water. As we pull away, I can tell she’s noticed. 


“Uh, are you okay?” she says with a concerned smile.


“Yeah, fine!” I blurt out more defensively than I expect, “I was just… thinking of that guy from earlier”.


“Oh, another man? Should I be jealous?” She looks around sarcastically.


“I’m not joking – some maniac, probably on meth or some shit, came by earlier. It was kinda funny. He was shouting like crazy and ended up diving into the duck pond”.


Saffa goes quiet. Noticeably quiet.


“You should’ve seen it,” I chuckle, “it was kinda scary at the time… but it’s funny now. Not funny for the ducks though, huh?”


She’s avoiding eye contact and it’s as though her enthusiasm has been zapped.


“Riley... I need to go...” she says finally, slowly rising.


“What are you on about? Why? You serious?”


“It’s because... I know them.”


“You knew that guy?” I crack a smile, this is a joke, “What is he? Like your dad or something?” I laugh at my own idea, maybe a little too hard.


“DON’T LAUGH!” she shouts, pointing at me with a death glare, “THIS IS FUCKING SERIOUS,

RILEY!”


“Sorry...” I mutter, raising my hands “...um, can I help in some way? Who was he?”


“I didn’t say ‘him’. I said ‘them’!” she clarifies, anger seething through her clenched teeth, “The

ducks, Riley! I need to go help them! They’re my kin!”


“What!?” This girl is crazy.


“Goodbye,” she says curtly. 


And with that, Saffa turns on her heel and storms away toward the duck pond.


“Saffa, please! Wait!” I call out.


But she doesn’t listen, she just takes flight.


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