The Brookline Reservoir is ringed by a gravel path. Along the path are benches, on many of which are affixed small brass tribute plates, evidence of some past fundraiser, I guess. Most of the inscriptions are some version of this: In memory of Paul Smith. With love from Elaine, Mike, and Kim.
There are exceptions. One bench inscription says, “Don’t walk by.” That stopped me.
Read from the left…
“do you think they’ll sit down?” –Bobbi Davis
… to the right:
“yes, I hope so.” –Stan Davis
These few words, the punctuation, and the names suggest an entire relationship. I picture the ghost of Bobbi, the fun one, easily agitated, leaning forward and speaking emphatically to the ghost of Stan, mild, taking life as it comes, sitting back.
Think about how so many pairs of people you know — whether spouses, sisters, best friends, or characters in a favorite story — can be distilled into the particular lines that they play out over and over again. The cronies who made the gift to memorialize the Davises apparently knew these two well enough to choose and write down a couple of lines that could make strangers known to passers-by.