Fiction

Walk through the park

Nikki and  Anshuman walked solemnly across the park, clutching each other’s hands. Afraid if they loosened their grip they would lose each other too.  Near the exit, on a green bench sat an old woman knitting a small, red sweater.

Nikki didn’t realise it at first but the trickle of tears on her hand made her realise that he was silently sobbing at the sight. Two months ago they were planning to bring their first born to the park everyday. Now they just walked around here hoping to recapture those happy moments. She saw him crying and wanted to just hug him and cry to. But she remained stoic. Hoping her calm composure would help Anshuman remain  strong.

Anshuman always knew his wife was the tough one. She could take whatever blow and see the positive in it and make him believe life was all hunky dory. But it was not. He missed hearing the heartbeat of his child. The child he buried just two hours after she was born. A still born they said. He missed seeing the kicking feet. He missed every bit of it. The old woman made him think of his mother who received the news when she was midway knitting a sweater for his child. His child who just left him too early. Nikki tugged at his hand to move on , he wiped his tears with the other hand and walked on. Knowing this was just the beginning to a long and painful end.

The old woman was furtively knitting the sweater. Her grandchild was only a few months away and at this speed she would not be able to gift him the red sweater. It was a tradition in her family that the eldest gifts the youngest a handwoven sweater. She would have just loved to buy it off Macy’s or something but that was just cheating. So, she usually got out in the afternoons and spent the better half of dusk knitting at the park bench. Enough light which also helped her old bones. Looking up at her this day’s of work she held the sweater against the light to see if the stitches were all in a straight line. Satisfied with her day’s work she stuffed the unfinished sweater in her bag and headed home.

At the exit she saw this young couple arguing. She was a bit taken aback. Wasn’t this the same couple who were clutching each other’s hand in the park and that man there was even crying. What’s with these new age couples she thought and walked on.

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