I wasn’t particularly inspired by this prompt so I postponed it but now that I’ve realized how far I could twist it, it become very interesting.
The sound of birds always pleased his ears though he was hard of hearing. I kept steadily, supporting my father’s arm as we walked through his favourite park. Every day it would be a moot exercise. For I would always come with him to help jog his memory…and I would always be disappointed.
He would look about and smile. As if everything were new to him, like a blind man seeing the beauty of the sun for the first time in his life. And perhaps in some ways, I can only imagine that it was like that for him. As we passed the pond, my thoughts retreated into the past…
“Ms. Hawthorne, I’m afraid your father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”
I nodded mute. I’d only heard of Alzeimer’s, I didn’t know what it really meant. I did not know it meant that I would be bitter of my father’s memories stolen by the devil. I did not know I would sob unbearably when he couldn’t recognise me.
Now I remind him who I am and he nods but he does not know what it means when I tell him I’m his daughter. He does not know how to be my father anymore…
We stop walking, he stares off into the distance but then I realise he’s looking not at something but someone.
Old Woman’s P.O.V
My fingers tremble as I push the yarn through the needle, impatient to finish knitting my granddaughter’s sweater. The breeze danced in the park and the sun shone just right so that my eyes didn’t feel overwhelmed. Sunrise Seniors Old Age Home wasn’t as sunny as it seemed, I would joke with my friends at the home. But…I’ve lost a few during my stay at the home and now the ones still here with me have heard the joke far too often. Conversation isn’t always solace you see. That’s what I tell my daughter and her husband when they come to visit me. Oh the stories I tell them of my younger days! Like the time when Eleanor wouldn’t eat her vegetables and her father tricked her into it, when I would take a walk in this very park with my own mother …so many stories. Such good memories. I seem to have rambled on in thought. That seems to be happening lately. Perhaps it is my new medication…anyway, back to my knitting. I have to finish the sweater by Christmas or Nancy will have thought her grandma had forgotten to give her a gift….But who is this man staring at me? The woman next to him was young and held his arm for support…my, he looks so much like my late husband…oh! He’s begun to tear up! I wonder why!
It’s Jo! That’s Josephine! She’s sitting right there on that bench! I wave to her and she looks up from knitting that bright red sweater and gives me a puzzled smile…no that’s not her smile. My wife had a beaming smile, so wide I could count her teeth. A brief flash and I remember the day when we came to this very park with our newborn baby girl…that red sweater, it looks like Jo’s.
“That sweater resembles one of your mothers.” I remarked, and my daughter smiled thinly.
“I should ask her to wear it more often. The colour suits her. Don’t you think? Your mother looks beautiful in red, I always think.” And I made up my mind. Yes I would tell her exactly that.
I often only hope for glimpses of my old man, a moment, a second, just something… but nothing like this. I can’t tell him… how can I?
“Hmm.” He said absently,staring at an elderly lady knitting a few feet from where we were standing.
It pained me as I collected myself enough to tell the truth. “Mom passed away a few years ago, Dad. It’s just you and me now.”
“What are you talking about?” He said alarmed. I could see him try to think clearly but he couldn’t.
And to my surprise, he kept staring at the old woman until…he began to cry.
“We buried her on a Thursday. I don’t know how and why she died, I don’t anymore but it was a Thursday.” He said trembling as I led him away from the trigger of his emotional state.
“Do you know how I know?” He continued.
It was easily the longest conversation I’d had with him in months. “How Dad?”
He sat down on a bench slowly. “Your mother makes spaghetti on Thursday and I remember thinking at her funeral that there wouldn’t be any more spaghetti…”
I waited…and waited.
Then finally he said:
“You know…” He looked around. “This park is beautiful. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before.”