I was at the beach the other day looking for a picnic table I remembered seeing months ago, in summer, that had Truth written on the seat— I wanted to take a picture of it.
The table had been on the sand, close to the water, but now it was gone. Well, it couldn’t be gone, it’s a big heavy picnic table, I thought, it had to be somewhere; somebody must have dragged it onto the grass nearer the barbeques and swings so I wandered about looking for it among the maybe thirty tables—I remembered bold black lettering in magic marker, easy to read—but I couldn’t find it.
Then it occurred to me that despite its bulk it was made of wood and technically could have been burned or broken and after checking every table twice I had to admit there was no reason to assume it should still be there.
But I checked a third time.
And then I saw it. The lettering had faded to almost invisible—I’d never have noticed had I not been looking for it especially.
Thing was, it didn’t say Truth.
I remembered now.
Truth would have been a fine thing to write, but I’m not sure the single word would have caught my attention the way this had. I remembered reading the bold lettering on that lovely summer day and feeling sadness and shock and wonder at how alone this person must be despite any number of friends. I wondered: where were they now and how were they now, and how would they be…
I remembered feeling helpless, and angry that anyone should feel so alone, hopeful that whoever it was would find the strength they needed, and that we, that society, too, would find the intelligence and compassion needed to understand in a meaningful way.
Funny how I remembered it all as Truth.