I am Jon Partridge Beloved folk musician 1975-2020 Who loved this park. That’s who I am, that’s what it says on me, that’s how I know. People use me for lots of things, but I think the thing I do best is give people a place to sit and think. I like that I do that, even if it doesn’t seem like much. Many of the people who walk past me every day look worried or tired or angry or lonely and, even if it doesn’t seem like much, I’m always there for them, if they ever feel like stopping for a rest from life.
There’s a man who comes to sit on me every day. He’s old and he struggles when he walks. But every day he comes and sits on me and breathes out and smiles and looks around at the trees and the birds and the dogwalkers and he seems happy. I give him that. He always chooses me, when there are plenty of others just like me to choose, all over the park. But he chooses me. I like that. I like that I give him that moment in his day where he gets to sit and think and be happy.
There are other things that people use me for, though, as the others like to remind me. Yes, okay, it’s true, sometimes, late at night when it’s dark and there’s no one around, sometimes teenagers like to use me for a place to do things with and to each other, okay, I admit it, sometimes teenagers like to sit on me and drink from bottles and then touch each other in ways that either please them or hurt them or both, I don’t know, it’s not easy to tell, but they like to use me for that and the others make fun of me and, okay, yeah, I don’t like it. I don’t like it when they sit on me and do those things, but what can I do? I’m stuck here. We all are. Drilled into the ground. We’ve talked about trying to move once or twice but those discussions are just sad because we all know it’s just talk and we can’t move and well it’s best not to go into all that really because it just gets depressing.
We are what we are and who uses us for what is out of our control.
I mean, it could be worse for me, at least I’m not like Mary and Michael Townsend Who enjoyed the fine views together. At least I’m not the one the dirty smelly people use for sleeping in the nights before the policemen come in the morning and make them move elsewhere before the nicer people with dogs come. At least drunk people don’t piss all over me, at least I don’t get covered in vomit on a regular basis, hey, at least I’ve got that, hey? When the others make fun of me, I like to remind myself that it could be worse.
Sure, we all wish we could be like Richard Rowlands 1923-2003 Cherished member of the community, because Richard Rowlands 1923-2003 Cherished member of the community has the best spot in the whole park, right on top of the grassy hill where you can see the whole park and even parts of the city, and that’s where the old couples like to sit together and eat ice cream and hold hands and talk or be silent and just look out with contentment on their faces.
We all wish we could be Richard Rowlands 1923-2003 Cherished member of the community, but hey, you know what? Maybe one day I can be. Maybe they all laugh at me now because teenagers use me for drinking and fingering, but maybe the nice old couples with the ice cream and the smiles who sit on Richard Rowlands 1923-2003 Cherished member of the community used to be drunk teenagers too, maybe they grew up, maybe they moved to a better spot, because everyone has to start somewhere? Maybe I’m the place where love starts. Maybe I don’t have to feel bad about being Jon Partridge Beloved folk musician 1975-2020 Who loved this park because maybe being the place where people fall in love is actually a beautiful thing? Maybe I don’t have to be jealous anymore, because maybe I have the best view already.