W101 – Coming Clean
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.
My grandmother loved to knit. I remember how when she tried to teach me I shunned her, embarrassed because boys don’t knit. How stupid was I. I’m so ashamed, I could never tell her.
They walked along the path that was the perimeter of the park in silence. It wasn’t in any way busy, there was just enough people to not be alone in the open space. Most everyone they passed was around their age, twenty-somethings, but their faces brimmed with genuine happiness and delight. Were it not for their hands linked together anyone would be hard-pressed to believe the couple had recently reunited.
“She reminds me of my grandma.”
“Really? Which one?”
“Maternal. She loved to knit.” Don’t you cry, don’t you dare cry in front of her. She’ll never believe it’s real. Get your shit together man.
“I’ve never really heard you talk much about her. Were you close?”
Tell her the truth. Tell her you wanted to be!
“Not so much.”
This is like pulling hair. Is he really going to make me ask 20 questions? I told him I’m not going to do all the talking in this relationship. I know, let me show him what it’s like to actually have a conversation with a person.
Sarah released her grip from his hand but to her surprise he squeezed her tighter.
She’s literally letting go, I’m going to lose her. Now’s your time X, either you’re going to be a man and tell her what the heck is going on or you’re going to lose her for good. But how can I tell her I regret everything? What do you say, oh hey I think I woke up last week a different person and now I realize I’ve been wasting both of our time? There’s too much to reveal. Hey Sarah, see that little boy over there? Yeah that could be me, but no I screwed that up too. Oh and see that sculpture? I once got an offer for my work but gave it up because I lied and said it wasn’t ready.
He felt her pull at his hand again as he stood still staring into the park.
What is going on with him! “X, I’m going to talk to her.” I swear to God he’s a sociopath. Why did I say I’d give this another shot!? For all I know he’s making this up, probably doesn’t even want to tell me what’s really going on. Since when did we walk in the park?
Just as she’d made up her mind their walk was over and she’s pretty sure they are once and for all, Xavier squeezed and pulled her closer to him. He put his arms around her waist and held her tight, lifting her off her feet by default of their height difference. Warmth oozed through her as she fought it with her thoughts.
This is some kind of show, always using physical affection to win me over. I told him, I need some emotional connection, for crying out loud. I hate to break it to him, but it’s not going to work this time.
Then she felt the warm drops of tears splatter and run down her back as he nuzzled his face into her neck. His body began to quake letting loose deep moans she had not heard before. The spell she’d put over herself to guard her emotions broke at the seams.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered back.
Words were not forthcoming, Xavier just then was incapable of anything other than emotion, that thing that was so non-existent between them. “What’s wrong Xavier?”
Oh dear, I can’t bear to see a man cry. The older woman stopped knitting and watched the young couple embrace. The man’s face though buried spoke of deep despair, a hurt that fights itself. Thomas always said don’t trust a man who cries too fast or never at all; I hope that girl knows which one she has. Didn’t think either of them had a lick of emotion one way or the other from what I saw.
She turned back to the sweater she was making for her niece but looked up every few seconds, curious how this all would pan out.
Why have I always made this so difficult? It feels so good to really hold her and mean it. Why couldn’t I just open up, let her in, and let go of some control! For once I can see what I’m about to lose. Never will I be able to learn from my grandmother again or tell her just how special she really was to me. If I don’t let Sarah into my life now, it’ll be one more regret I have to live with.
This is real. This is really really real. My God I don’t know what to do. Maybe he really does love me? Maybe he hasn’t been able to tell me but now he gets it. What is it about that woman or his grandmother? Oh my God, what’s going on right now?
“Xavier? Xavier please talk to me. What are you thinking?” Or maybe this is it. Maybe I was right and he never wanted me in the first place. He probably feels bad he’s going to tell me some terrible truth or –
“Forgive me.” He let go of her and stepped back a couple of feet.
The older woman tried not to be seen watching but she couldn’t not watch. They’re in love, boy was I wrong. Young people just don’t know when to quit; they just hold onto their emotions like we live forever. He better tell that woman how he feels. I tell you Thomas, you nearly lost me, waiting almost a year to tell me you even liked me. I think that was the first time I saw you cry, and boy did you cry. Cried just like this young man. She smiled inside and out remembering such a fond moment with the man she spent 56 years of her life with. Until death do us part, and part us it did.
Xavier saw the woman watching them over Sarah’s shoulder. If that were my grandmother what would I do? I’d be my true self.
“Sarah, I love you, and I have. But I’m arrogant and prideful, and I didn’t want you to be so important to me that I had to be somebody different. I guess I just thought I was pretty darn perfect as I was. There’s so much that I’ve been doing wrong. For starters, I was a jerk to my grandma and ever since then I’ve never valued the people in my life. As far as I was concerned I gotta worry about me.”
There you go young man, you pour your heart out. Now if I could just hear a little better… She reached up and adjusted her hearing aid, but could only make out a word here and there. Oh well, I remember what you said Thomas.
He loves me? Oh my God…
“I’m sorry, I’m nowhere near as perfect as I pretend. I’m beginning to realize that, well, I think… I’ve gotten everything wrong, everything. I do care, I want you around, heck I want you around more! You’re not just some parking space in my life. You’re a favorite irreplaceable place, I’m afraid how much I like being there. I’ve wasted so much time in my life, that’s a hard fact to admit.”
Then it was her turn to cry, but as she did she heard clapping and watched Xavier’s face bloom into a smile. She turned to see the old woman, needles and yarn down, standing and clapping. Tears ran down her face. Xavier bowed then wrapped his arm around Sarah’s waist and led her over to the bench. Each cried their own tears of release and acceptance.