Linkers include siliconshaman, janetmiles, librarygeek, mdlbear, helgatwb, thnidu, and dialecticdreamer. So far, 20 of 25 verses have been posted. You can reveal more verses by linking to the new guide pages for Antimatter & Stalwart Stan and Aquariana. Then tell me what you've done so I can post your verses.
"The Friendship Bench"
On weekends, they usually went to the park.
Hadyn enjoyed getting out of the house,
but sometimes Lakia and Nathaniel
just got too bouncy and loud.
Then she would slip away for a little while
and find a quieter part of the park to sit down.
Hannah didn't mind as long as she knew
where Hadyn was going and it wasn't too far.
Today Hadyn wandered down the winding path
to the comfort benches under the silver maples.
A girl sat on the big rainbow friendship bench,
her shoulders rounded and hands leaning on her knees.
Her curly brown hair was tied back in a ponytail, and
she looked close to Hadyn's age, ten or eleven.
Hadyn knew what it was like to feel droopy,
and it was worse when you didn't have any friends.
She sat down on the far side of the bench,
not wanting to crowd someone she didn't know yet.
"Hey," she said quietly.
After a few moments, the other girl looked up
and smiled just a tiny bit. "Hey."
That was all she said, but a few minutes later,
she scooted a little closer to Hadyn.
Hadyn moved inward about an inch,
and the other girl did the same,
so before long they met in the middle.
Sometimes people didn't feel much like talking,
they just wanted not to be alone for a while.
Hadyn noticed that there was a woman sitting on the bench
marked "Formerly Employed Mother Hang Out Zone."
As she watched, Hannah strolled over to sit there too.
Lakia and Nathaniel were climbing the monkeybars,
with Danso making sure that nobody fell off.
"I'm Kristen," the girl said finally.
"Hadyn." She didn't want to pry, but
she did want to help if she could.
"You look like you need a friend."
"I'm just sad," said Kristen. "I don't have
any friends here, and I miss my family,
even though they're ..." She shrugged.
"Sometimes I feel sad too," Hadyn said. "I've been
through some stuff that sucked a lot. You don't
have to talk if you don't want to. We can just hang."
"Looks like my foster mom found a new friend,"
Kristen said, watching the two women on the other bench.
"Mine too," Hadyn said with a smile.
"No way," Kristen said.
"Way," Hadyn insisted.
"I hope they like each other," Kristen said.
"Hannah likes almost everyone," Hadyn said.
The other girl had the same kind of vidwatch
that Hadyn used to have, before she melted it --
the older style with a pink keypad, instead of
the all-digital one that Hannah had bought.
"We could trade v-dresses if you like,
maybe try to keep in touch."
"I'd like that," Kristen said, shyly reciting
hers so that Hadyn could program it in,
then accepting Hadyn's in return.
It felt good to make friends.
* * *
Kristen Ward -- She has fair skin with freckles, green eyes, and long curly brown hair. Although a little shy, once she gets to know people she can form close friendships. One of Kristen's hobbies was building dollhouse furniture, but she wasn't able to bring much with her when she left home, just a few personal items and clothes. Currently she lives in Onion City with Mrs. Maya Roberts, her new foster mom.
Qualities: Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Girl Stuff, Good (+2) Navigation
Poor (-2) Family Drama
Mrs. Maya Roberts -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and short brown hair. She lives in Onion City with her new foster daughter, Kristen Ward. She grows roses.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Foster Mother, Good (+2) Gardener, Good (+2) Intuition, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Being Alone
* * *
This poem follows the story "Homesick Day" by dialecticdreamer.
A friendship bench is a designated spot for socializing, meeting new people, and seeking comfort. This tool is crucial for emotional first aid because it gives people a nonverbal way of requesting help. Sometimes people are too upset to speak clearly, don't know how to articulate a complex issue, and/or don't feel comfortable asking aloud. This is the rainbow one. If you have control of a park, building courtyard, school, or any other public to semi-public space then consider adding a friendship bench.
Making friends can be challenging in a new town or neighborhood. There are tips on how to make friends and talk with a very shy person.
Sad body language tends to be slow and droopy. Know how to comfort someone who is sad.
A mother bench helps women find others with similar experiences. This is a helpful thing to put at parks, schools, or family service buildings.
Vidwatches are like tiny smartphones. Here is an older keypad model. Most later ones use a touchscreen.