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Writing 101 Day 9

[Writing 101, Day Nine: Changing Moccasins — Point of View

For today’s assignment, write a scene at the park.

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.]

 

Chapter 1: The Man

 

“If I can just undo this button, and loosen my tie, I’ll be more comfortable,” I say to myself as I stand next to the car.

I glance at my watch, wondering if I’m late or early. The watch shows 12:15, just as I hear the chime tower ring once. I look around and see her, standing at the sidewalk intersection, watching me. I give her a quick wave and almost jog the two dozen steps to her. Bending over a little to kiss her in greeting, she hesitates a second and then lifts her chin to meet my lips. I think, “She has always been a little uncomfortable with public displays of affection.”

 

She begins walking, away from the chime tower, into the park. I fall into step beside her. Normally, my strides are longer than hers, but I match her strides so we can walk easily together. We walk for a minute in silence, just enjoying our time together. As busy as we both are, we get so few opportunities to just spend time.

 

Rounding a curve in the path, I notice an old woman sitting on a bench in the shade of a large oak tree. Though the weather is warm today, the leaves are beginning to fade to gold, red, and burnt orange. A month earlier it would have seemed out-of-place, but the small red sweater the old woman is knitting could be for a grandchild or pet. How thoughtful and loving of her to put her time and energy into such a wonderful gift. The old woman looks up as we approach. She reminds me of Aunt Mabel. The woman looks familiar, but I cannot place her. Maybe I have seen here in the park before.

 

As we walk past the woman, my love sees her but then returns to her thoughts. I reach out and take her hand as we walk together. Intertwining our fingers, I give her hand a little squeeze, and noticing that she seems bothered, ask, “Honey, You seem like something is bothering you. Want to talk about it?”

 

At first she doesn’t answer, only walks ahead. After another dozen steps, she pulls her hand out of mine and walks a little faster. Chalking it up to public displays again, I don’t give it any thought, but hurry to catch up with her. She stops at a chunky fence post. The fence surrounds some historical marker. I catch up to her and she turns to me.

 

Since the hesitant kiss when we met, this is the first time she has looked at me. She looks at me for five seconds before she starts speaking. There is something about the look in her eyes: determination, resignation, compassion, that tells me everything in one big chunk. I know she is speaking, explaining, but I cannot hear the words. I want to remember her face, but everything starts to get blurry and I cannot seem to catch my breath. The ground doesn’t feel real anymore. Maybe, I’m dreaming and I will wake up at any moment. That’s it! This is all just a dream.

 

Everything goes from blurry to dark, and I think, “Good! I’m waking up now.”

 

Chapter 2: The Woman

 

Seeing him drive up and park, I panic.

“Why did I ask him to meet me at the park? I don’t think he has seen me, yet. I could, just, leave and call him to say I was held up and we will talk later. He’s getting out of his car. I have to leave. It has to be now! Go!”

 

I will never know why I didn’t leave. I love seeing him. After all this time, he still thrills me with a glance. I don’t think I have ever told him how much I enjoy being with him. Whether we are watching a movie, driving someplace, shopping, or just sitting in the same room reading books. I, simply, adore this man.

 

Lost in the thought, I delay and he sees me. I cannot leave, now. His face breaks into a huge smile and he waves a little wave as he walks up, almost jogging, as he unbuttons his top button and loosens his tie. I, really, should leave. We should do this in private, but as I’m thinking of how to explain this, he leans over and puckers his lips. After a second more, I tilt my head back and accept the peck.

 

“Well,” I mutter, “We’d better get going,” and I walk down the path. It takes him a second to catch up with me and falls into step with me.

 

“Is he making fun of my short legs? Why is he shortening his steps to match mine? I know I’m short. I’m doing the best I can.”

 

“I don’t want to do this, here, but we are here and it needs to be done. He wouldn’t forgive me if he found out from someone else. Well, he, probably, would forgive me, but I could not forgive myself.”

 

Walking along the path, I sense him look up at something. Looking up I see Mary, Aunt Mabel’s friend, sitting in the shade on a bench, knitting something. I think it is a red sweater for, by the size of it, Mary’s granddaughter, Krystal. I wonder, for a moment, if Mary knits a red sweater for Krystal every year, because their Christmas card, had the baby in a red sweater. Mary looks up and catches my eye. I cannot hold her gaze and look away.

 

He reaches out and takes my hand, “Oh God, I have to get this over with.”

 

After a few steps, he squeezes my hand and I cannot stand it anymore. I pull my hand free and jog away.

After only a few steps I feel my lungs begin to burn and swear at myself for not keeping in better shape. After a few more steps, I stop to lean on the fence surrounding the monument to the fallen, gasping for breath. It only takes a few seconds before I hear his big feet pounding up behind me.

 

He asks me if there is anything wrong and did I want to talk about it.

 

Railing inside my head, “Anything wrong?! Only everything that could have gone wrong has and you don’t know it yet, but you are, really, never going to forgive me. Even if I told you that, you would disagree, but you’d be wrong.”

 

I turn to him and trying to keep calm, I take a second, then summoning all my love, I look into his eyes. Before I can speak, his eyes fill and overflow with tears.

 

I lay it out for him. Part of me thinks while my speech, so well rehearsed, continues without much thought, “Was I that transparent? How could he have known? Oh, God!”

 

His tears run on and a sob squeaks out before he collapses, landing in a heap in the grass.

 

Chapter 3: The Old Woman

 

Thinking to myself, “Finally, I have some time to work on this sweater. Last month it was so hot that I could barely touch the yarn, but next month could be too cold for me to enjoy the sunshine and do this thing for my angel.”

 

“The leaves are changing again. Every year, with only a few exceptions, it is the same thing: A month of nice weather in between the deadly heat and the bitter cold. Maybe, I should think about moving to Arizona. It would be nice to see the kids more than twice a year.”

 

A young couple come into view. The man, loosened at the collar, but otherwise his suit looks clean and pressed, is following after a pretty young woman, her yellow sun dress is cheerful and her sneakers are white and clean. I glance at my knitting, it would not do to get distracted by gawking at other people and make a mistake.

 

After checking that my fingers are doing fine on their own, I look up at the young couple again. Nearer this time, the taller man is taking short steps so that he can stay beside the much shorter woman. After a moment, I realize that these people look familiar. Looking down at my knitting, I think it over for a moment and realize that the woman is Julie, Mabel’s niece. They come close, passing in front of the bench where I sit, but as I catch Julie’s eye to say hello, I pause. The look in her eye and the way she is walking tell me that something very wrong.

 

The man, grasps Julie’s hand. Though I can tell she cares for him, the contact makes her very uncomfortable. Within a few steps, she pulls away and runs up the hill toward the monument.

 

Mabel would not would not forgive me if I didn’t try to help, so I wrap up my knitting and put it in my bag. Standing, I hurry up the path after the couple. After a minute, my old legs bring me within earshot of them, standing by the fence. I slow to a normal pace, willing to walk past if nothing turns out to be, actually, wrong.

 

As I approach, the man asks Julie a question. Her shocked reaction fades into a muted expression, like that of a newscaster reporting on the day’s horrors. As I approach, I begin to catch words, “sorry… just happened… didn’t know how to tell you… hope everything is going to be alright….”
The man began crying the moment Julie began speaking, and after only a few seconds, he simply collapsed on the ground. As I rushed the last few yards, I caught the last word Julie said, “baby.”

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  1. 16 June 2014 at 16:45

    Please realize all comments are opinions. There’s a wide range of writing skill in this group.
    The focus of this exercise was point of view practice, which has been accomplished. Good to try new things.Some will fit, some won’t long term. It’s supposed to be fun, not a blood sport.
    Writing has a cadence which is sometimes heard only when read out loud. It’s a trick that helps many writers – not only with using sentence length but also with sounds of words to create the mood/emotion/feelings targeted. Reading out loud frequently points out where punctuation should go. (If your voice pauses, generally a comma or punctuation mark is called for.)
    You use an assortment of complex sentences mixed in with the compound sentences and simple ones – most punctuated fine.
    If you care, ” I look around and see her, standing at the sidewalk intersection, watching me.” Is written quite naturally; the appositive punctuated fine. The commas/pauses when read add emphasis and builds a bit of suspense.
    The important thing is to write and then write more. And as your tag line says, keep a sense of humor.

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