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.
I have to snap my head to the side. I don’t need her to see me crying. I can’t lose her. She’s so much stronger than I am. I don’t know how she does it. Does she not realize she’s my rock?
I feel her grab my arm, and then she begins to fold herself into my shirtsleeve. She’s shivering. Is she getting sick again? My heart is galloping. I immediately stop us under the next oak tree and begin rubbing her arms.
“Honey?” I’m worried. She’s not looking at me. This can’t be good. “Everything okay?” I’m practically whispering.
I can feel her take a deep breath in my chest. Her breathing makes me feel alive.
Her eyes are glistening. “Everything is great,” she says. She’s smiling that smile. Man, it’s contagious.
I have to shut my eyes. Tight. Tighter. I try to shake the memories from my mind; I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be ready yet. I give a little shiver as if it’s the dead of winter instead of late summer. Opening my eyes, I reach over with my free hand to grab a hold of his arm and nuzzle my face into his bicep just as the tears escape. Nice; real subtle. He’s going to think I’m still a basket case. He stops and turns us toward each other. My face is now lodged into his chest.
“Honey?” he asks with a concerned look, as he caresses my arms. “Everything okay?” He sounds like an angel.
Should I tell him?
I take a deep breath, filling my nostrils with his scent. How could I forget the love I have for his man? I lift my head and start to open my eyes.
“Everything is great,” I say, with a smile. He’s smiling now, too.
The Old Woman
I look up, just as I start on the hem of this sweater for my new grandson, and I see a striking couple holding hands. You can always tell true love by the way a couple holds hands. I take a deep breath as I set the sweater and needles on my lap. I’m squinting, trying to see through all of the wrinkles in these knotty hands of mine. I have to take a break every few minutes to stretch things out and loosen the arthritis. I know I shouldn’t knit, but I can’t help it. It probably takes me three times as long to knit something as simple as a sweater these days. It’s worth it though. The pain is worth it. My first great grandson… I’m tempted to leave the sweater as it is now. But, no, I’ve never been one to leave things as they are just because of a little (well, quite a bit of) arthritis. The hem is almost finished… The little stinker will look adorable in this when I’m done.
Ah, true love, I think, when I look back up to see the couple in their own world.