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.
“Why are you crying Paul?”, I asked him. It was a warm breezy morning in the park and I did not know what got into him to sob like this. He tried to compose himself. I never saw him like this, was it something I said? Maybe my revelation was too much for him. He was holding my hand firmly as if he had seen a ghost. I braced myself, I knew something was wrong.
“What do I tell Anna? Should I tell her of my past?”, I thought to myself as she gazed at me perplexed by my sudden emotional outburst. I thought I was strong enough by now. As I was momentarily pondering, I felt the gentle summer breeze as it blows through the sycamore leaves, it reminded me of my moments with Clarissa.
“Another couple, I do not want to see such sight. It just reminds me of Greg, the love of my life.”, I said to myself. The doctor told me to focus on a task and I am having a hard time with this couple around. Although Alzheimer’s disease challenge my memory daily, I remember walking with him two decades ago in this park. His face all lit up by the sight of yellow dandelions, it reminded him of his father. Greg always played with him in this park. After Greg’s death, I visited this park daily to reminisce about him. I miss him terribly. The first and last man who managed to tame the shrew in me. He was never the same after I lost our son.
“She will recognise me, the doctor told me she showed some progress.”, Paul muttered as I looked at him baffled. He never told me who she was. I never met her. “Who was she in Paul’s life? Could she be?” I wondered. We never really talked about his past.
“Anna, meet Clarissa.” I told her as we walked hand in hand closer to the bench. I could see Anna was surprised. She asked about her for quite sometime but I never really mustered enough strength to visit her again. Clarissa was the other woman in my life. They took her to a nursing home after her depression. She could not deal well with dad’s death, the doctor’s prognosis was Alzheimer’s disease. There are times when she thought I was still 10 years old, she would always knit me a sweater and she loved red. She said that dad gave her a red sweater for Christmas and on that same day he proposed to her. It was her happiest moment.
“Clarissa…. Paul mentioned her on several occasions but it is only now that he took me to meet her” wondering to myself, I looked at Paul and smiled. This is a big step for him to introduce me to his mother. I smiled as we walked an inch closer to her.
“Greg!” I told the young man. He seemed familiar, I know I have met him here before. The way he smiled at my greeting, his green eyes and brown curly hair. As I stood up and hugged him, flashes of memories of me and Greg rushed in. Tears start to trickle down my cheeks and on his shoulders.
“I have missed you dearly. How are you? I can see you are still knitting” I tried to say it in a happy way and yet my heart is ripping apart because she had mistaken me for dad. Her condition is getting worse and the doctor said she only have a few months before her memory completely fades. This is why I brought Anna with me. I wanted her to meet my mother.
I could not help but be touched at the sight of Paul and his mother. As he let go of her, I saw him picking something from his pocket. He walked closer to me with a devious smirk and then he knelt. This was not happening. He took my hand and said, “Anna will you marry me?” Shocked and overwhelmed, I nodded.
I wanted the two women of my life to meet each other. I have to face the reality that I will eventually lose my mother to the disease but I brave knowing that Anna will be at my side to make life easier.