Day 6 Writing 101 prompt:
A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.
Sally’s hand gripping mine felt warm and firm as we walked the paved trail. In the nature mimics real world scenario, two squirrels, male chasing the female, scampered just off the sidewalk ahead of us and up the tree as we approached. Down the path and just ahead was ‘our’ park bench, where I had been thinking we could take a break from our walk and watch nature, but it is occupied.
From the corner of my mouth I whisper, “Looks as if our usual spot isn’t available Sally,”
The elderly woman, dressed in a full cotton shift dress, her tan support hose-clad legs peeked out, ending at neatly crossed ankles just above orthopedic black shoes, looked up. Her mesh bag of groceries, tell-tale carrot tops hanging over the top edge, sat just under the front edge of the bench but within easy reach. Her hands moved to an unheard rhythm, a light clicking heard as the knitting needles touch, her weaving the red yarn into some undeterminable fuzzy something.
I wonder quietly, “will she allow us to sit with her?”
What is she knitting? No, it can’t…”I need to go,” I say to Sally as I disengage, caught and frozen in a sudden moment of vulnerability, eyes blinking as the waterfall of tears stream down my cheekbones. My Lily had been just 21 days old and wearing a red fuzzy sweater when she took her last breath. Created with the love of a mother’s hands and the sweater now lays with her tiny unlived self.
Sally pulled by the sight of the red yarn draws close to the bench that this elderly woman has made her own and smiles as she asks permission to sit. Drawn initially by the red yarn but now feeling the tenderness and kindness within the woman’s physicality she relaxes into the bench.
“Of course, please do. Do you knit?” asks the face, browned by the sun and marked with a smattering of age spots.
Sighing and realizing she is looking into understanding eyes, Sally reports “My Lily had a red sweater just like this one here, which I made. Well, it was almost like this one, this appears boxier. Is it for a boy?”
The elderly woman nods but keeps knitting. “My grand-daughter tells me her unborn child will be a boy and I must get this done soon.” She pauses, sighs saying “In my day you waited until baby was born to make the clothing.”
Sally looks to see Paul is shaking with the unleashed grief and leaning against a nearby tree for support. Alarmed, she excuses herself while moving off in his direction. “It’s wonderful, your sweater, thank you.”
Placing the needles and yarn back into its bag the elderly woman gathers up her belongings and moves off recognizing the young couples need for some private moments together on the bench. As a former nurse she understands the heaviness of grief mixed with the miracle of tender love and loss.