The last station

The old lady sat in her chair, her hands working on the sweater she was knitting. She was making a sweater for her grandson. Not that he would ever wear it, though. He was way too busy making a career and good life for himself and his family. No time to visit grandma! She looked around her. More elderly people sitting in what they called the “recreation room”. But for most of them it was more like a train station, and they were waiting for the last train to take them to their final destination. As her hands worked automatically, her thoughts went back to what her life had been.

She saw herself again: a young, beautiful girl, with love in her heart. But she knew her love was doomed. Her father would never allow her to marry outside what he considered to be “their class” and Henry was an office clerk. She remembered their tears when she had to tell him she was supposed to marry the son of a renowned banker. Their promises “I will always love you” still wavering along in the air. 

Of course she married her banker’s son. There was no way she could have gone against her father’s will. They had a luxurious wedding, a luxurious honeymoon, and an even more luxurious house. Over the years, they had arguments and children, cocktail parties and visitors, but no friends. That was simply “not done” in their environment. She would have loved to have a job, work with children! But Philip never wanted to include her in his business. So she poured all her love and ambition into her children. She wanted them to be successful in life, both financially and emotionally. She carefully nurtured every little sign of love for nature and people. But by the time they left their home, to become part of the big world outside, she knew she had lost them forever. They were to set course for fame, wealth and ambition, and in that world she knew there was no place for her. Then, after many years, Philip had died. The children and grandchildren came to the old house, not as much as to comfort her with her loss, but more to decide what they would do with the extra wealth that had come their way. They also came over to discuss “what’s best for mother.” Nobody bothered to ask her opinion, as they had never done so in the first place.

So here she was, alone, in a house full of people. She knitted through her days, waiting for that last train. The few times their children or grandchildren would come to visit her, they would be shifting uncomfortably on their chairs, glancing at their watches to see if they could go home yet, back to their lives. She sighed, took a sip of her tea and glanced across the room. There he was: Henry, the love of her life, still looking sweet, surrounded by his children and grandchildren, that came to visit him almost every other day. He had looked at her some times, but he did not seem to remember her. She had wanted to step over to him, but was afraid to do so. So she just knitted away and looked at them from afar.

She suppressed a sudden tear and looked down at the pattern of the sweater. Suddenly she noticed she had miscounted. She had skipped a few lines of the pattern. She considered to work her way back to correct her error, but with a shiver in her hurt heart she decided not to.

He wouldn’t come and wear it anyway…………..



moonpunter17   moonpunter17 wrote
on 4/28/2008 1:15:02 PM
How sad.

Short Story
writing MoniqueT
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An old lady, knitting away and reflecting on her life.
A Word from the Writer
This was originally written in 2003, as a writer prompt on an online writing group. The prompt was "if it's not broken, why mend it?"