Day Nine: Point of View
Today’s 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.
We are strolling through Stamford Park. The late September sun dares to linger despite the brisk breeze biting at our interlocked fingers – summer has reached an end. The park is empty, save for an elderly lady up ahead, who sits on a bench busying her hands with something in her lap. She is swathed in layers of fabric, and as she lifts a hand to tame her silver hair, I see that she is wearing fingerless gloves. She is prepared for the British weather. I need to take a leaf from her book. She busies herself in her pursuit again.
As we approach, Jenny is struggling to tell me something. “I was hoping to wait until after your birthday – but it’s been playing on my mind…and well – I guess it will only be temporary but…“ The sun pierces through an opening in the shifting clouds, bathing the old woman in a bright iridescent light – and then I see it. And in that moment my heart stops. In the distance: “…I’m moving to Brisbane.” Jenny’s words evaporate. My breathing narrows. Is my mind playing tricks on me again? My head spins and I can feel myself slipping…falling…
I can’t believe I’m telling him this two weeks before his birthday. Birthdays have always been painful… and here I am, burdening him even more. I turn to Steven. He has aged at an alarming rate in the three years since I’ve known him. The deep lines around his eyes trace a tale of ceaseless searching – always searching. Those eyes, though tired, are still as piercingly grey as the day we first met. My heart dances a merry beat at the memory – his pearly grey eyes, his accent. I remember feeling jittery and nervous as I took his order – a black coffee, no sugar. He’d jump each time the door opened, as though he was expecting someone he knew to walk in at any moment. I thought he’d been stood up and could tell he was new to the place, so I plucked up the courage to strike up a conversation. I’ve been besotted ever since. And now I’m leaving him. Two weeks before his birthday… I need to get this over with…
“I’m moving to Brisbane…” I say, and it’s as though I have punched Steven in the chest. He stops abruptly, his face turning pallid and ashen, his breathing shallow. Dammit – I should have waited until after his birthday. I didn’t think he’d react this badly. He looks like he might fall at any moment so I sit him on a mound of grass. Is he…crying? Oh gosh he’s crying.
“Steven? Steven?! I’m so sorry – it’s not permanent…it’s only for a few months….” But he doesn’t seem to hear. His glazed eyes are looking through me. I turn to see if anyone is watching. An old woman sits on a bench knitting a red sweater and she looks over at us. I smile at her apologetically. She returns the smile, a look of concern in her silvery-grey eyes. She’s probably wondering why I’ve made my boyfriend cry… Her smile fades, and then she catches herself, busying her hands with her knitting again.
The temperature has dropped somewhat. But I don’t mind. It’s peaceful where I sit, despite the cold. I must finish this before the sun goes down. I’ll need to send it tomorrow – I imagine it’ll take two weeks before it arrives… I shouldn’t worry – they’ll only send it back again. They always do.
I see a couple approaching, walking hand in hand. The young woman has long, sun blushed hair and freckles. He’s rugged-looking, but handsome. In fact, he’s probably about the same age as my son. I wonder if he has a girlfriend…maybe even a wife? He’ll be thirty-six in two weeks – I could even be a grandmother. But I’ll never know that. That was always the deal…that’s why they keep returning my jumpers each year. One day, maybe they wont…
From the corner of my eye, I notice the couple have stopped walking – there appears to be a small dilemma. He’s silently crying, a look of sorrow on his face as she tries to console him. Maybe she has just broken up with him..? Poor soul – he looks so sad. For a moment I am struck – struck by his silver eyes. My son had beautiful eyes too – eyes that I will never see again. I was naïve to think I’d ever find him in Ohio. Ohio is a big place and so far away. But that was always the deal. They take care of my son, give him a new home far far away, and if anything was ever questioned…I died when he was three. My stomach knots. He looks so…lost. I realise I am staring and the lady looks embarrassed. I continue with my knitting. I must finish this jumper and mail it tomorrow…