Hey, guys. This story is another that will be included in the upcoming book, Days and Other Stories. I hope you like it. Feel free to leave a comment below.
It was warm out finally, and thank God for that, Marcey thought. At 72, the cold was no fun. But finally the winter chill had gone, the wet grass was dried by the late May sun, and she could take her work outside. She packed up her knitting supplies, and took herself down to the park.
She bought herself a cup of coffee, and settled into her work. She was making a little red sweater for a client who wanted something more personal for her nephew’s second birthday. It made Marcey’s daughter laugh whenever they talked about her little ‘side hustle,’ as they called it. It wasn’t like she needed the money. She wasn’t hurting like some her age. She just liked to keep busy.
As she made her way to the chest of the sweater, a young couple walked past. The woman was keeping up a constant stream of chatter. The man, however, stopped in his tracks, and stared at Marcey. Specifically, he stared at the sweater. She was starting to wonder whether she should yell for the police, when the man burst into tears.
“Sorry,” the woman said to her, pulling the man away. “I’m really sorry.” She hurried away from Marcey as quickly as she could, still dragging the sobbing man along.
“What was all that?” Marcey muttered. Since she knew she wasn’t likely to find out, she sipped her coffee, and made a mental note to tell her daughter about it later.
It was a warm day, but Jordan didn’t feel very warm. There was never such a thing a good weather for a funeral, after all.
She’d put a lot into helping Paul plan it. There was no one else around to do it, and hadn’t he always been her best friend? So she pulled on her black dress, and went to his apartment to pick him up.
Paul was dressed when she got there. Well, that’s a step in the right direction, she thought. He even managed a smile for her when he came to the door.
“Did you eat?” she asked him.
“Not yet,” he replied.
“Let’s take a walk through the park, and go to the diner,” Jordan said.
“Yeah, okay,” he agreed.
Jordan felt triumphant as they started along the path. They’d talked about nothing but the funeral for days, so she thought of anything she could to talk about now other than that.
“So that Rick guy called me again,” she said. “Just out of the blue, like our last date went well or something.”
“No kidding,” Paul said, and actually managed a laugh. “After spending half the date talking on his phone?”
“I know,” she replied.
They were coming up on a bench. There was an old woman sitting there, drinking a coffee and knitting a red sweater. When Paul saw her, he froze. Then he started to sob.
The woman looked scared to death, which made absolute sense to Jordan. Generally, people don’t start crying at the sight of art projects. “Sorry,” she said, and started pulling Paul away, “I’m really sorry.” She drug him down the path, trying to figure out what about that old woman had made Paul so upset.
If it had only been Maureen, Paul thought, maybe he could stand it a little better. He dressed in the bedroom they had shared for three years, where her side of the bed still smelled a little like her. He had loved her since the first day he met her, and when she died it broke his heart. But if it had only been her, he supposed it would have healed.
Jordan was pulling up. She’d been so great though all this, the only person he’d had to rely on. He had put so much of this on her, even though he knew she must be hurting too.
So when she suggested a walk through the park and breakfast at the diner, he gave her a smile and said yes.
And at first, he really did feel better. Listening to Jordan babble, walking with her in the sunlight, he felt warm for the first time since Maureen died.
Then he saw the woman, knitting a sweater with red yarn.
Maureen had laughed at him when he brought her that red yarn and a pair of knitting needles. “I hope those are for decoration,” she’d said, “because I don’t knit.”
“Yeah, but you’re going to be a mommy now,” Paul had told her with a laugh. “Everybody’s mother should knit.”
He couldn’t help it. He started to weep.
If it had only been Maureen, he supposed he could have healed. But knowing there would have been a baby, and now there never would be? He didn’t believe he would never be warm again.
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