Out of all the park benches in Carlton Gardens, the one I chose to sit on carried a plaque reading "a special area for those with missing persons".
I only noticed it when it dug into my back ... sharp edges made me turn around and its sharp message made me re-read it a few times.
I had been wandering through Carlton Gardens taking
photographs of the Royal Exhibition Building - a structure that
somehow manages to push its way into every view and angle
you see, much like an over-eager bridesmaid. Walking across
a desert of sparse gravel squares; finding the small, intimate
beds of flowers that peek out from dark corners. And then
turning a corner and seeing sprawling, open spaces of elderly
trees all hunched over, sweet and shy ponds, proud fountains
and green, velvety lawns.
I sat on the bench as if meeting an old friend.
Because we are all, always, missing someone.
Most of my family are in Far North Queensland, several thousand kilometres away. And the wind has scattered my friends to Brisbane, the Tweed, Newcastle, Sydney, Wagga, north of Melbourne, south of Melbourne, and further over seas.
I don't know if that plaque was placed there during wartime to
mark the missing in action. Or if it highlights the action of going
missing. Those of us who simply walk out the door one day and
Planes, trains and automobiles have made it so easy to travel
that we have never been so mobile, and so far apart from each
And Facebook, Skype, instant messaging, the web in general,
have brought us all closer than ever before.
I think I'll go back to that park bench again, phone a friend I
haven't heard from in a long time, and let them know I'm in a
special area for those with missing persons.