Saturday in the Park (Short Story)
WP 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.
“I’m sorry,” Sam uttered, releasing his wife’s hand to wipe his tears away.
“It never ends, does it?” she comforted him, as the tears he shed tore open her own heart with searing pain once again.
Cora tugged him onto a bench with her across from the elderly woman, who glanced at them with deliberate, nonchalant reserve, as her twisted fingers worked with great fury to crochet a little, red sweater. She had seen them before, but they had never bothered to acknowledge her with even a simple nod of their heads, always wrapped up in their own little world.
“Not a day has gone by that I don’t wonder where he is or what he’s doing now after all these years.” A twisted smile curled Sam’s lips as the last memory of his baby boy, bundled in a bright red blanket, washed over his face.
“Me, too.” A halfhearted laugh escaped her, as she held in her anxiety, avoiding looking directly at the red flag flying in her face from across the path.
The elderly woman’s knitting picked up the pace as her eyes wandered down the path in search of her friend. She spotted him coming towards her walking his Scottish Terrier, sporting a tattered, yellow, crocheted sweater. Her heart leapt inside of her with joy. It had been weeks since they had rendezvoused in the park together.
“We had to do it,” Sam assured them both, glancing at the little, red sweater again, as the elderly woman cleared her throat.
“I know,” Cora agreed, hating herself for knowing that he was right. “How could we? I couldn’t even drive a car, and you were still in foster care.”
She clung to the same excuses with robotic apathy, reconciling with her guilt once more as she recalled how empty her life had become when they had handed their son over to his new mommy.
“I know you said to never bring it up again,” he began, “But, Cora, it’s just that it’s been over nineteen years now. We survived. It didn’t destroy us. We didn’t destroy him.”
“What if he hates us?”
“What if he doesn’t.”
“The agency refused to help us find him. Remember?” She couldn’t face the fear of crushed hope again.
“I remember, but it’s different now, besides, he’s an adult. There are other ways. We could even use social media.”
“That’s true. We didn’t have that option back then when we decided to stay together.”
“So does this mean you’re willing to try to find him again?”
The elderly woman rose from her bench holding the little, red sweater with outstretched arms towards them. She inspected her craft with pride.
They both stared at it in awe.
“He deserves to know,” Sam insisted, rubbing his hand over his wife’s swollen belly, “that he has a sister.”
Cora sighed—a trembling smile spreading across her face.