The Red Sweater(s)

“What’s your fucking problem?”
“MY problem? Let’s talk about YOUR problems, shall we, since it’s all we ever do? Right? What do you care that I’ve been out of work for six months. You said you’d stand by me, but no. You haven’t. Who’s this Mike dude, anyway?”
“He, he, well, since you ask, he’s everything you’re not, starting with EMPLOYED.”
“Your DAD fired me! And why was that?  Because I married you! Why did I marry you? Because you WANTED it. ‘We can start a life together if we just find the courage for this commitment’. You said that.”
“Yeah, I know, but now I know you better I should’ve said ‘committal’.”
“It was no fun in that hospital, Madge. You have NO idea.”
“You weren’t there for fun, stupid. You were there to GET NORMAL.”
“And what’s ‘normal’, huh? Like you know Ms. Prozac Nation.”
“God I hate you.”

Not looking up from his lines, not seeing where he was going, Markus walked into a light post. “Ow, my god, that hurts!” Blood poured from his nose. His face turned red. His face broke out in perspiration that dripped down his face along with the blood. His formerly pale, Goth visage was a melange of red shades. He began to sob in pain. “God dammit. I think I need an ambulance.”
“You should watch where you’re going. Here, let me clean off your face a bit.” She reached into her purse and pulled out the baby wipes she carried with her everywhere. You never knew what might happen, something like this, something worse, even a dirty baby. The world was uncertain. “There, is that better?”
“I don’t know.” His face, still red, less bloody, still perspiring now smelled of something like baby powder.
“You’re sweating; your face is burning up. What’s going on?”
“It’s the pain. Pain does this to me. I should sit down.”

They saw a bench ahead where a woman sat, knitting from a skein of red yarn she’d set beside her on the bench. “May we? My friend hurt himself. I think he might be in shock. Anyway, he should sit down.”

The old woman grumbled and moved to the end of the bench to make room. She’d seen the whole thing as she was knitting her 5,000th red sweater for one of her imaginary illegitimate grandchildren. “Stupid young man,” she’d thought, seeing the accident happen. “He should watch where he’s going. These kids always have their faces in their Smartphones these days. Serves him right.”

2 thoughts on “The Red Sweater(s)

  1. really great story – love the points of view – and well, sadly, the red sweater reminded me of a local tragedy here in our town – and not pull from your story – but everyone is wearing red today because of a teen that took her life – and well, hearts and prayers are going out to her family and friends – and well , when I read your title – it drew me in.

    and getting back to your piece = I also love the humor “knitting her 5,000th red sweater for one of her imaginary illegitimate grandchildren” and the message – “always have their faces in their Smartphones” –
    very enjoyable piece. have a great day.

    • Thanks for your lovely comment — and my heart goes out to your community; I’m very touched by your story of your community’s response. That’s truly kind and lovely.

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