Part one: The Gentleman, who is moved too quickly to tears
He walked across the park feeling the sun beat down upon his face. It was a good day. He was here, he was in love. Spring was in the air and in his step as he held his girlfriend’s hand. She was the love of his life, of that he was certain. Just thinking about it, thinking about their future together, made his eyes tear up.
But he couldn’t let her see that, not again. She had already berated him for being too sensitive, too emotionally needy. “Why do you cry so much?” she had asked him. “It’s kind of a turn-off. And really annoying.” He couldn’t help it though, he had always been this way. Too quick to become emotionally involved. Too quick to tears. He looked away from his girlfriend, to others in the park, trying to clear his mind and eyes.
There was an old woman in his view, sitting on a park bench with a look of some intense emotion on her face – sadness maybe? She was knitting, and when he saw what it was, he couldn’t hold back any longer. It was a baby sweater, but clearly for a deformed child, one with arms in the wrong place. She must be knitting that for her grandchild, he thought sadly, with a body like that, the poor kid likely doesn’t have a chance. The mental image of that poor malformed baby wearing the sweater, possibly being buried in the sweater just hit him too hard. He melted down then, sobbing openly. He couldn’t help it. That was the moment when his girlfriend turned to him, shook her head, and told him it was over.
Part II: The Woman, who is unhappy with her choices
She didn’t like the feel of her hand in his. Seriously, it was too clammy and fishlike. What was wrong with this guy? It had been a mediocre blind date that brought them together, and a few not so great dates in between that brought them to this. He was taking her to his favorite park, where he wanted to have a picnic and watch the ducks at the pond. And probably cry too, she thought ruefully.
That was the thing with this guy – he was a crier. She had made the mistake of telling her friends she needed a sensitive guy, but what she meant was simply more sensitive than the sports-obsessed narcissist she had dated for far too long. Not sensitive like this, crying because a flower was too beautiful, or the smell from a bakery reminded him of his dead grandmother or …what was that other thing? Oh, yes, he cried describing the plot of Footloose, because Kevin Bacon’s character just wanted to dance. Really. On their first date. That should have been a warning sign.
I’m not really this lonely, am I? she wondered as she made another attempt at sliding her hand from his grasp. Maybe I am. No, I’m not. If he cries in the next half hour, I’m just walking away, she promised. She didn’t need this. Not on a beautiful day like today.
They had been heading to the bench nearest the pond, but it was already occupied by some old lady, crocheting and glaring at everybody who came near. Damn it, now we have to walk farther. She rolled her eyes at the old bat and was going to suggest just sitting in the grass, when she heard what sounded suspiciously like a muffled sob. She looked. Yep. Not three minutes after she made the agreement with herself, he was already doing it. OK, she told herself. You promised.
“Hey,” she said, then wished she had started the sentence less harshly. “I can’t do this anymore. We’re through.” He began sobbing louder. Loser. She finally managed to pull her hand away, and then just turned and walked off. That was a waste of a month, she thought. Maybe her next blind date would be better.
Part III: The Knitter, whose time is more valuable than assumed
It had been a long day already. Knitting usually calmed her nerves, but not today. Not with all these ignorant people in the park. So far no less than three strangers had come to talk to her – the talking she didn’t mind – and had the nerve to touch her WIP. Seriously, who does that? They just reached out and fingered her yarn like they had the right. Could they not see she was working on that? And who knew what was all over their hands? Even though it was just a dog sweater and not something really fancy, like a qiviut scarf, she still didn’t want strangers handling it and perhaps pulling it off the needles.
Plus, the questions. Ok, maybe she did mind the talking a little. When people said things like “I love that little dog sweater, you should sell your work.” Sell it? Really? One woman had looked at the sweater covetously, held her stupid purse dog far too close to the knitting, and stated, as if it were a complement, “You could probably get $20 if you sold those. I’d buy one.” “$20 dollars?” she had responded incredulously. “Really? A whole $20 dollars? The yarn alone costs $18, and it takes me ten hours to make. You think my time is worth TWENTY CENTS an hour? Are you serious?” The would-be customer had sniffed haughtily and informed her that it was actually a $2 dollar profit, because why would you charge for labor if you were going to be knitting anyway? It is your hobby, after all.
She thought she had shown great restraint in not putting a knitting needle through anybody’s eye today, but it was still morning and there were a lot of people in the park. Right now, for example, there was a middle-aged couple holding hands and strolling right towards her. She didn’t see any dogs with them, so maybe they wouldn’t try and buy the sweater right off her needle, but maybe they’d be like the entitled young gentleman who just an hour ago had introduced himself and suggested she volunteer to make him a Dr. Who scarf. Twelve feet of monotonous garter stitch and all those ends to weave in for some stranger who thinks he’s doing her a favor by allowing her to gift him with the products of her labors? No thank you.
My, she was feeling stabby today. She glared at the couple walking by, just as she had glared at the Dr. Who scarf guy, and the $20 lady, and the kids who asked her for knitting lessons and told her she had to provide the materials. To her surprise, the middle-aged man began crying, and, instead of comforting him, the woman just walked away. Good on you, she wanted to say to the woman. Get out while you can. He is clearly not knit-worthy.