An Un­lucky Bench

Special Focus - - Contents - Wu Baosheng

Since 2008, I have al­ways spent six months liv­ing in the States and the other six months per year back home in China. This time, when I came back from the States, I sud­denly re­al­ized that, on the right side of the gar­den in my court, a long wooden bench with a back­rest un­der a tree was va­cant all the time.

That day, af­ter ex­er­cis­ing on the fit­ness equip­ment, I took a seat on that long bench. To my sur­prise, Sis­ter Wang, a warm­hearted neigh­bour, came to pull me up. “Don’t sit here.” She told me mys­te­ri­ously while cov­er­ing half of her mouth with her palm.

“Why?” I asked.

“Do you know Big Zhang who used to sit here?” Sis­ter Wang whis­pered to me. “Yes. What’s the mat­ter?”

“Two days be­fore you came back, he died on the bench where you just sat.” “Wasn’t he a man of strong build?” “Yes, but he passed away all of a sud­den. Even though he was ami­able and hadn’t con­tracted any in­fec­tious dis­ease, peo­ple still feel that his dy­ing on the bench is un­lucky.”

After­wards, Sis­ter Wang took me to the other side of the gar­den. How­ever, I thought to my­self, why would the bench be aban­doned af­ter Big Zhang’s death? Death is merely part of the nat­u­ral process, and what does it have to do with the bench?

Just a few days ago, a new neigh­bour moved here, and she was preg­nant and near­ing la­bor. She came to re­lax in the cool­ness at the court­yard gar­den, and sat on that bench, ex­actly on the “un­lucky” seat. Two days later, she gave birth to a chubby lit­tle boy, and both of them were safe and sound.

Grad­u­ally, peo­ple started to take a seat on that long bench again. As a mat­ter of fact, life and death are equal, which is a phi­los­o­phy known to us all, yet in real life, peo­ple tend to ac­cept life and avoid death. How great it would be if we can have a peace­ful mind in bid­ding farewell to the eter­nal lives of oth­ers.

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