The Red Sweater.

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.

*      *     *     *     *     *     *

Gripping Maria’s hand tighter, he allowed his tears to slip him into the memory.

The anger and sadness rose up to engulf him. The new world he had worked so hard to create faded around him, green leaves browning into charred, earthen walls destroyed by the anger and pessimism of men and women with too much power, those who were too selfish to see what their sense of righteousness did to those weaker than them.

The loud voices of children playing became desperate shouts of his comrades searching the piles of rubble for survivors.

The sounds of ball against bat and ground, became the ever echoing sounds that mimicked in his memory, that tormented him in his sleep. The loud and unrelenting pounding of bombs and artillery fire.

He saw the rubble, and the faces of the family flash before him. The desperate screams of the mother, her tears streaking through the dust that covered her once beautiful features. Fear emanated from her expression, her posture and the desperation of her words. A small child clung to her hand sobbing, unsure, knowing that something was wrong. Screaming for her brother.

Suddenly, his commander shouted that he had found someone, but one look at that little red sweater told him all he needed to know, and his heart broke…for the child who owned the sweater, for his big sister who would never know the joy of a younger brother and his mother, who having turned at his commanders shout, had collapsed over the child, grief renching out sobs. the sound of a broken heart that would never be repaired.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Maria, having felt Ted’s grip tighten, only perceived her joy. The secret that she harnessed. The warmth of the knowledge that in just a few hours she would be able to tell Ted of the beautiful creature she was growing.

A hand instinctively went to her stomach. She had waited 6 weeks before she decided to tell him. Every night she watched him toss and turn, and scream in his sleep, waking in a cold sweat. She watched, wishing she could smooth away the obvious terror and grief, wishing she new what tormented him so.

She hoped that this beautiful secret she carried would help to heal. Tears slid down her cheeks as she watched the expressions cross Ted’s face. Why did such an innocent little red sweater bring so much fear and grief?

*     *     *     *     *     *

I know I am knitting for a reason, but I can’t remember if I am knitting for someone. That is how it is sometimes since my brain left me behind. I do things I know because they comfort me, and sometimes I can do things for a reason, but I don’t often know why I am doing them.

I think I must have  a child to knit for, maybe my daughter? She is such a beautiful child. But I look at the hands doing my work, and I don’t recognise them. The wrinkles, scars and hardened skin that tells of a life that I don’t remember. I don’t even remember where I am. I came out for a walk this morning, thinking that it would be nice to knit I the sunshine. I found my way to this beautiful park.

I know my husband will be looking for me, he worries now that I have these moments. I call them my forget-me-nots. I look up and see this beautiful young couple watching me and what I am doing. Both have tears in their eyes. Do I know them? I think maybe not, they show no recognition of me, just of the sweater. It has sparked something in each of them.

My name is being called.

“Jenny!”

A man is striding rapidly towards me, worry on his face. I think he should be familiar, but he isn’t. He is old. He looks a lot like my Charlie, but older. I look down at my hands again, and think, maybe he is my Charlie. I don’t think I am young anymore. My head and heart think I am, but my hands tell a different story.

I get up slowly, and walk into his embrace, and recognise him instantly. I let him take my knitting off me, and guide me home. I feel safe in the knowledge that some things stay the same.

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