Lesson 09 is this:
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.
I stick to most of it.
The naked bear
Doreen loved to knit. She was an avid knitter. After Arnold died knitting filled the lonely hours.
Hats, scarfs, jumpers, cardigans — she attempted a nude suit once but it looked a little weird. It was for a friend who wanted to give her toy-boy a thrill. It neither thrilled nor teased, it made a good hallowe’en costume; won Best in the home.
When the days were nice she’d go to the park with the girls to knit. There was a group of them and when in your 80s this is considered party-living. Usually Betty was already waiting, and so too Agnes if she wasn’t waylaid, but today Doreen was alone on their bench and she was grateful for the peace.
Peace and knitting, just how she liked it. Today she was knitting a red jumper for a bear called Mrs Jones. The poor thing was love-worn and needed some modesty.
The birds were singing over the muffled traffic. Light footfall — a couple were heading her way. Some kids playing football on the grass. Two dog walkers chatting. A squirrel scampering. Otherwise deserted under the beating orb in the sky.
Arnold would’ve liked this. He would’ve brought a thermos of hot chocolate and they would’ve shared it in silence. Hot days and hot drinks, that’s what he loved. He would’ve held her hand and kissed it.
The memories were nice.
Like that young couple — they used to walk like that. Chatting closely through the park. The guy looked upset, looked different, but it wasn’t any of her business so she tore her gaze away; felt the breeze chill her eyes moist with tears.
Doreen admired the jumper. A few more stitches and she’d stitch the sides and be done, and then Mrs Jones would be the finest dressed bear in town.
— — —
When Jimmy-Jo was a child he had this bear named Jo-Jo and it wore a cardigan. They went everywhere together — the park, to bed, in the bath — they once went on Space Mountain and got covered in barf. Jimmy-Jo loved Jo-Jo the bear. Loved, it was love — Jo-Jo loved Jimmy-Jo back.
These days, now that Jimmy-Jo was older, his life wasn’t that simple. Nude and threadbare, Jimmy-Jo needed Jo-Jo dressed. He was clutched to his chest.
And then he saw red — Jo-Jo saw red. Jo-Jo said, “I want that jumper!”
— — —
Celia felt awkward.
“Excuse me,” Celia disturbed the old lady with a smile. “Hi, I was wondering if I could buy that jumper…”
Celia felt so rude but she didn’t know what else to do — Jo-Jo’s cardigan had got ripped in the wash. Margaret, the nurse, had tried to fix it but it completely fell apart. And now Jimmy-Jo was distressed and she wanted him to feel calm, and he’d seen the jumper so here she was trying to buy it.
“I have a tenner in my purse,” she said. “If that would be enough.”
The old lady laughed.
Celia was a little stunned so she explained her predicament — added, “I got a cardigan off eBay but Jo-Jo didn’t like it.”
“It’s not finished,” the old lady said. “It still needs a few stitches.”
Celia felt eternally hopeful.
“Is that Jo-Jo?” She asked.
Jimmy-Jo was clutching the bear to his face.
“He loves Jo-Jo so much,” Celia said, “and it’s like Jo-Jo loves him back.”
“Oh he does, dear.”
“Bears, they’re full of love.” The old lady stood. “I’m Doreen,” she shook Celia’s hand. “Do you mind?”
Celia watched Doreen walk over to Jimmy-Jo and ask if Jo-Jo could try on the jumper. Celia heard her say: “You can’t have a bear wearing a jumper that’s too big; it wouldn’t be right, they’d trip over it.”
Celia was lost for words. Pride. Of course she’d asked to buy the jumper and a fitting was only right but to watch it, its sweetness, was what was good in this often rotten life.
“He’s the same size as Mrs Jones.” Doreen proclaimed as she sat back down with Jimmy-Jo. “If you give me fifteen minutes I’ll have it done.”
“Of course,” she smiled.
Celia went for her purse.
“Dear, just sit down and enjoy the sun.”