Lady Gilda was sitting on a bench overlooking Central Park. It was by 57th street and Park Ave. On her right she could see the city types walking up and down the avenue, hailing taxis, rushing to make their millions, and on the left she'd see the park at a distance; a row of trees that have been there long before Lady Gilda was even alive. She named the trees Monroe, Sinatra and Holiday and she'd greet them every morning. Even in the snowy days, when New York's finest would shiver back at their tiny apartments, Lady Gilda would brave the freeze and make her way down the block and to her favorite bench. It was always vacant, waiting for her to occupy it. It was hers and it knew it well.
One cold morning, Lady Gilda arrived at the bench, and noticed Park officials were hovering around the ole' Holiday tree. It was white color and yet it wasn't snow season yet. 'Must be some fungus.' She thought to herself and she was right. A week later, Holiday was chopped down, leaving Monroe and Sinatra trailing behind. The thing about fungus in the forest - is that much like a virus for humans, the spread spreads like a California wildfire.
And so fast forward a few weeks later, and Lady Gilda was looking at the empty shells that were once Monroe, Sinatra and Holiday. Her heart burned like a California wildfire, but she kept coming to the bench to greet those trees, even when they were no longer there. Because like those trees, she had no children. No one to remember her once she would be gone. The bench was all she had. One day she came by and a park ranger was waiting by the bench with a big New York smile. 'Surprise.' He said, and presented a new addition to the bench: an arm rest made from pieces from the ole' three trees. So Lady Gilda could rest her arm on her beloved three, while looking at their empty spaces.
And so she did. She came to the bench day after day until her very last day. Resting her arm, and resting her eyes.
And if you pass by a bench near 57th street and park, look for the carving M, S & H, and send a little greeting to Lady Gilda. Because her memory is always there, even if SHE is not.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman