Red

The sun bounces off the water as the breeze whips up small ripples. Two ducks, their feet moving silently underwater, glide across the pond heading for the small island in the middle. Sitting on a bench a few metres from the edge, an old woman is hunched over her knitting needles intent on her task. She doesn’t notice the ducks, nor the people who are walking towards her on the narrow path, nor does she notice that the sun has come out and small beads of sweat are forming on her brow. The wool trails out of the brown paper bag, vibrant and red. She loves this colour. When she was younger she had always wanted a jumper this colour. It’s too late now, not at her age and with that pale thin skin scattered with those awful freckle things. What did they call them at the doctors? Liver spots. There’s nothing wrong with her liver. She had’t drunk herself to death like that useless husband of hers. No, she isn’t going to think about that today. She’s going to enjoy herself finishing off this jumper for her grandson and in a minute she’ll get her sandwich out and the extra piece of bread she has brought for the ducks. She pauses and looks up to see where the ducks are. A young couple walk past holding hands. How sweet she thinks and lets out a chuckle.

 

The man hears the soft laughter and glances at the old woman sitting on the bench. She is looking at them. Her hands move fast, as if of their own accord. He sees the red. The red jumper. He freezes. His wife turns around and is saying something. Her mouth is moving, but he can’t hear. Tears start to fall down his cheeks.

 

There’s cheese, spinach, tomatoes and onions in the fridge. Shall I make a pasta dish or a simple salad. Now the sun is out it’s getting quite hot. When we get back I might sit in the back garden for a while and work on my tan. A cup of tea would be nice. Yes. A salad will be quicker. Best check with Adam. He’s not very talkative today. Hope he’s not getting those blue feelings again. I’ve tried to get him into conversation, but I’m buggered if he’ll say much. Wonder if something happened at work yesterday that he hasn’t told me about. He’d rather have pasta I bet. “Would you like salad …” I start to speak but he’s stopped and is staring at something. His face has gone white. I follow his gaze. An old woman is sitting knitting. It’s a small red jumper.

 

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