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…
Seeing that old woman’s hands work the string, the needles clacking together as they started to form the body of the small red sweater brought about memories of hands that had once worked similar needles to create a small sweater for a child yet to be born. The memories of a young woman who had been so excited to be a mother that she had learned to knit for her baby. Wouldn’t it be great, she had asked him, if she could knit their child some warm booties for their first winter? He remembered her constantly in the rocking chair, back and forth, back and forth, trying to knit their child a pair of booties. A chair that not lay empty next to a basket of knitting needles and yarn, untouched, a pair of booties that had been finished but would never be worn. He felt the tears, felt himself crying as he looked at the old woman knitting a small sweater that would keep her grandchild warm in the upcoming winter. His tears held the longing for the child that he never got to see, for the child that would never get to wear the booties that his mother had spent hours working on in that rocking chair. His face was turned to away from the woman so she couldn’t see the tears but neither could he see the mirror of sadness in her own eyes.
She had seen the old woman at the same time as the man had. The small red sweater that looked so sweet and warm, that would protect little arms from winter’s bite. She remembered that rocking chair that she had sat in every night once she had been put on maternity leave. The hours she had spent undoing stiches and reknitting the booties that she had found in her knitting book for beginners. How she had poked her hands and grown frustrated with the whole idea, she let out a breathe and patiently kept trying until she had succeed. Finally finishing those booties had given her a sense of accomplishment, that she had done the first good thing as a mother for her child. But as still as the rocking chair is now that no one uses it, was as still as her infant that was taken out of her body. The eyes that would never see the booties, never saw the sad, desperate, grief stricken eyes of her parents whose hearts could not be stitched back together as easily. Even with hands linked, she felt the man’s distance from her at times, every time that the pregnancy test came up negative. She squeezed his hand to try and bring him back, to remember that there was still hope and for herself to hope this times, the last time would be different.
The old woman saw the couple pause in front of her for a moment, their eyes on her hands. She could feel their sadness. Though they appeared to be one, between them they were divided by a pain of the past. One lingers in the feeling of helplessness while the other keep the spirit of hope alive. Having shaman blood running through her veins from her grandmother, she felt compelled to help this couple, gift them with something that could bring them together and bring light back into their lives. Working on the last stiches of the sweater she began to quickly whisper in the language of the shamans, weaving a prayer in the threads, weaving the hope into the tiny sweater. The couple has regained their awareness of having stopped and continue to walk as she is finishing the final stitch. With practiced swiftness, she neatly closes the seam, tying and cutting off the remaining strings and goes after the couple. Only having to go a few steps, she reaches out and touches the man’s shoulder. He turns his head to look over her shoulder and stutters to a stop, looking confused at the old woman. The woman stutters to a stop as well, their linked hands coming slightly apart from her pull causing her to stop and see what made them stop.
The old woman looks at them both, taking them in, the man and the woman. She takes the man’s other hand and puts the red sweater in his palm, closing his fingers around it with her other hand. “Child.” she says in the voice that wasn’t asking if they had a child but told them that it was for their child. The woman shock her head and started to say, “No, no we don’t have a-” but was stopped by the old woman who said “Child. This time child.” She smiled at them and squeezed the man’s hand with the sweater in it. She then walked away, back to her bench.
The woman just shook her head and took her head into her hands, wanting to fell hope that she was pregnant but all to familiar with the reality that the test could again appear negative.
The man looked down at the sweater and replayed the words in his head, the hope, the voice that told him without a doubt this time would be it. He smiled a little, feeling like he had just been reminded of what he had and what he had been missing out on being stuck in the past. He wrapped his arms around the woman and whispered to her, “This time, for sure.”
The woman took her head out of her hand, showing tears in her eyes and a smile on her face.
Together, husband and wife walked through the park, with hope in their hands.