He loved strolling through the park, holding hands with one star in his universe, just as young couples in love should. He walked her around the pond, up the hill, past the gazebo, and down back towards the pond. He first noticed the old lady sitting on the bench in the sun only because that was where he wanted to sit. It was his favourite spot. As they got closer he noticed the old lady was oblivious to the world around her. She was hunched over a red sweater, and he saw she was knitting with intensity. Nothing else mattered to her at that point. He got a glimpse of her face and thought he recognized her immediately. She looked like his grandmother. The lady who raised him when his parents were not able to any more. The lady who made his school lunches every day, cleaned his wounds, and saw him through his first love and the inevitable heartache. The lady who died while the gentleman was traveling, and before he could say thank you. The same lady who he yelled at in a fit of anger a few months ago, and the same lady who still left him a red sweater for when he returned from his travels. The unfinished red sweater that hangs in his closet right now. Countess, the gentleman whispered to himself. The lady looked up him, and smiled.
She was holding his hand as strong as she could. This was not her favourite park, but it was his, and this day was more about him than her needs. When they came down the small hill, back towards the pond, she wondered why they were slowing down. She noticed a tear coming down his face, and then more. It was coming out now. Good, she thought, he needs this. She held onto his hand with a little more strength, but she was still confused as to why they walking much slower. She looked around, but could not see anything. No dogs, cats, or birds. Only the ducks in the pond. They had stopped walking and just stood there. She did not ask why, just held his hand while he stared into nothingness, with tears pouring down his face. Tears that did not come when he arrived back in town, and tears that did not come when they were in the chapel. The lady did nothing but hold him, right there in the middle of the park. She looked over when she thought she heard him say something, but he made no sign that he did.
The countess saw them walking around the pond and out view. She continued with her knitting. It had to be done within two days, he would be back, and she thought he would need sweater for the fall. These days it took her almost three months to finish one. She used be able put together a sweater in a month, even when she was at her busiest. But now, her tired hands could not work the yarn as fast as they used. One week and this piece has not got any longer, she said to herself. She heard footsteps on her left on the paved path, and looked over her shoulder. There they were, the young couple in love, holding hands as they should. The countess was happy for them. They were perfect for each other. She held up the sweater as though she were fitting it to the gentleman, even though he twenty feet away. As she put it down, she gave him a reassuring smile, the one she gave when she used to clean his bumps and scrapes. But her smile was no longer what he needed. He found the perfect person to continue that. The countess stood up from the bench and walked off.