Scene: 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…
“That lady made me think of Mom,” I tell Carla, “she was always knitting something for one of the kids on the block. Doesn’t that look like the sweater she was working on when we visited her last week?”
“Yes, it does. Do you need a tissue?” She gives my hand a squeeze and digs one out of her purse.
“Thanks. Just caught me unawares. The dog looks a little like Mom’s too,” I pause, ”we’ll have to do something about Buster.”
“Try not to think about it right now. You’ll feel better once this is over and we get home. Time enough then for decisions. Let’s stop over there for a cup of tea before we head back.”
“OK, we shouldn’t stay long though, they’ll be waiting for us.”
She’s right. I need a bit more time before facing the gathering at the reception. I don’t know what I’d do without her, especially over the past few days. She’s held me up, a real rock. She always seems to be looking out for me. That reminds me that I’ll have to sit down with her before Thursday and explain the changes Mom made to her will. I doubt she’ll care but I wouldn’t want her to be caught by surprise in front of the family.
He’s crying again, barely holding it together. I look at him with dismay and wish we didn’t have to go back to the hall. Some of his relatives are a handful and his uncle is downright rude. I hand him a tissue and look over at the bench to see if the old woman has noticed his tears.
I wonder what he’ll do with Buster. He’s certainly not coming home with us. I liked John’s mother well enough but that stupid little dog is too much, yapping at every sound and begging scraps from the table. It makes me itchy just to think of sitting on that hair covered couch. Did she ever vacuum?
I could really go for a cup of tea before we head back to face his family and Mama’s friends. They want to talk about her money, of course. Well, they can go to blazes if they think they’re getting much of it. They won’t come right out and ask him today but I know we’ll get an earful once the will’s been read. It won’t matter, he’s been a good son and 8 years definitely entitles me to something. I had choices but it was unquestionably the right move to marry a lawyer.
I look up to see a young couple stroll by my bench. I think of it as my bench because this is where I always sit, if it’s free when I come to the park. Of course I don’t come every day. Sometimes the weather is just too horrid.
He seems to be upset. I wonder if he’s caught something in his eye. They don’t seem to be fighting, holding hands like that.
I like to watch people and try to imagine what’s going on in their lives. I think I’m usually correct. You can just tell what people are about, if you study them carefully. Maybe this man’s just happy. A young couple like that, I’ll bet she’s just told him that she’s expecting. They look the right age and are obviously in love.
I’m pleased with my deductions and hold my knitting out at arm’s length to inspect the last few rows. Very nice. This will be a lovely sweater for Walter. It’ll help keep him warm on our walks. He’s getting on and it’s been a little chilly in the evenings.
I tuck the knitting away in my straw bag and struggle to my feet. It gets harder every day. I may have to start using a cane soon. My daughter is always after me to get one. She’s afraid I’ll fall over and break a hip.
“Come along Walter,” I give the leash a gentle tug, “time to go home and make dinner.” ©