Memories in the Park

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.

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Penny

I was less than thrilled when Nathan called me to suggest we go to the park for our next date. I had just bought a new red dress, an off the shoulder Bardot number which highlighted all the hard work I’d been putting in to my new bum workouts, hello squats! I had been hoping dearly that Nathan would have produced an excuse for me to showcase my new acquisition, I could quite picture myself climbing up hills and plodding through grass in my va-va-voom skin tight mini dress.

I got to the park at eleven, Nathan was running a little late, the weather was beyond dull, I was freezing and did not enjoy passing the time listening to muddy brats screaming at each other. I managed to find a quite enough bench that had a few slithers of sunlight cascading onto it. I closed my eyes and tried to calm my jittery nerves.

A gentle noise in my ear made me jump in my seat, an old lady had sat herself delicately next to me and began to to click, click away with her knitting needles and a bundle of red wool.  “Sorry duckie, did I disturb you?” She sweetly asked.

“No, no of course not, I was just miles away sorry!”

“Aye, I find meself often gerrin’ lost here, it’s such a lovely place to visit and sit with ye thoughts. I bring my grandson here every weekend, he runs off with all his little friends and I can sit here and rest my feet a little while. A boy needs to stretch his legs and get some fresh air in his lungs.” Her eyes drift up to the children chasing each other around the goal posts, her nimble fingers continue to work away with the needles.

We talk for a while and she tells me all about her grandson whom she clearly adores, I was almost a little sad when I spotted Nathan come through the gates of the park. “It’s been really lovely talking to you,” I tell her sincerely as I get up to leave, “I hope you have a lovely day. Goodbye.”

“You too lovely,” she smiles and then returns to the jumper she’s knitting.

I rush over to greet Nathan, “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting,” he whispers and he hugs me tightly, “were you waiting long?”

“No, not really, I met the sweetest little old lady, she kept me company.”

Nathan put his arm around my shoulders, pulled me close, kissed my forehead and we headed along the path.

Nathan

Penny looked absolutely stunning as she skipped towards me, her auburn curls bouncing with every step she took. I also noticed how amazing her bum looked in those jeans but decided it would be inappropriate to mention that. We strolled through the park and headed for the ice cream truck that was always parked here rain or shine. We shared a tub of smooth ice cream topped generously with strawberry sauce whilst we lounged in a sunny spot by the trees. I was so pleased to finally have the chance to bring Penny to this place, this park holds such a special place in my heart, I spent many a happy day running around here as a growing boy.

“I learned to ride my bike here, Dad brought me here, he did that thing parents do where they hold the back of the bike and you’re too busy peddling away to notice when they let go. Of course as soon as I did realise he wasn’t holding me I lost my bottle and went tumbling to the ground!”

She laughed, a genuine laugh, a beautifully honest laugh. When she stopped I kissed her, a soft gentle peck which turned into a firm passionate kiss. We lay in silence for a while after, watching the clouds drift over us she had her head on my chest, and she traced my jawline with her fingertips.

Later on I took her for a walk through the trees, “and that tree there was where we made a tree swing. A worn out blue piece of rope tied to a splintered stick. We thought it was brilliant.” I held a branch up so Penny could duck deeper into the woods. “This tree is the highest in the park, me and my mates used to dare each other to see who could climb the highest. One day I got brave, I climbed all the way up to that branch there,” I pointed high to a broken branch, “I stood on it gloating to my mates below. As I did the branch snapped, I went plummeting down hitting every branch as I went, I came to a stop a few feet above the ground. I was more embarrassed than in pain. My mates went rushing off to go get my Gran ‘cause they thought I was dead.” I start to laugh at the memory, remembering how dramatic and catastrophic things seem when you’re a child.

“My poor Gran came struggling through the branches to find me clinging to this tree, I had one leg wrapped around the branch, the other kicking manically looking for something firm to step on and my arms hugging the trunk. She laughed, didn’t ask if I was okay, just laughed, ‘you look like a blinking gibbon hanging like that Nathan’ she chuckled. ‘Do you intend to stay there or will you be joining us humans down here?’ I was mortified, I shouted about how I couldn’t get down. She put her hands on her hips and said, ‘well you’re not getting this old bird climbing up there after you. You ain’t about to sprout wings so’s to fly down so it seems your only choice is to drop down.’ Then she walked away.”

This made Penny laugh, ‘what did you do?”

“I jumped down and ran after my Gran, she bought me an ice cream and we headed home.” I don’t think often about my Grandmother these days, when I do, I always start to well up. She was such a brilliant woman with a wicked sense of humour. Being in this park, reminiscing about those days is bringing it all back to me. We’d head here every Sunday, I’d dart off ahead of her and find some sort of trouble to get into, when I was thoroughly covered in mud and twigs I’d head to the bench she like to sit on to do her knitting.

“Oh my lovely, why are you crying?” Penny asked.

“It’s nothing, just thinking about my Gran, I still miss her.” With that Penny got on her tip toes and placed a hundred or more tiny kisses on my lips.

Gran

It’s lovely to see the little ‘uns run about. I never ‘ad much time for the sort who said kids should be seen an not ‘eard. No, kiddies should shout and laugh and be carefree. Plenty o’ time for being serious when they’re older. Look at our Nathan, when he war a nipper he was a bag o’ energy. Couldn’t keep him still for second, not that I ever tried to. Oh he ran his poor Mother ragged, but he war just being a lad, he was a good un really. Still is, I can see tha’ I can see what a lovely lad he’s turned out to be. I’m proud of him, he’s not got all money in world, he’d be better not to drink so much and it wouldn’t do ‘im any harm to ger his ‘air cut more often but he’s kind, he’s a sweet boy and oh he’s in love. Any daft bugger could see that, he looks at that girl like she could do no wrong, like the sun itself shines out of her, well, I oughtn’t say really. Aye she’s a pretty un I’ll say that much but I do think he trousers are a bit tight, dunt leave much to imagination, wi’ jeans tight as that clingin’ to thee arse.

I know he’ll treat her right, he’ll do good by that one, you never know! One day he might be bringing his own babies here for a stretch o’ legs. An if he does, I hope they climb trees an run through puddles and ruin all their nice clothes, then he’ll see what I had to cope wi. He’s a good boy our Nathan.

Now where war I? Oh aye. Knit one, pearl one, knit one, pearl one…

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