Tryptich

Rachael

“If I’d know it was going to be this windy, I’d have worn a hat,” she thought to herself. “Damned if I’m not going to get my hair cut short next time. And if Ben doesn’t like it, well that’s too bad. Let him stand for hours in the bathroom with the hairdryer every morning.”

Why they were always taking these walks in the park was more than she knew. She hated these walks. They always ended up the same way. We get into a big argument and stop talking. But for some reason, Ben was always suggesting they “just go for a walk and talk things out.”

Well, they’d talked it out, alright. They’d beaten that dead horse into a fine pâté. And he was so obstinate. Why couldn’t he just get a regular job and work on his writing on evenings and weekends. Goddamn artists. So impractical. And such thin skin.

“You just don’t understand me,” he’d said.

“Bullshit,” she thought. “I understand him alright. What a baby.”

She pulled back her hair yet again.

There was an old woman sitting on the park bench. She’d dropped her knitting onto her lap and was winding knots of tangled red yarn around her wrist. She seemed to be muttering to herself. What was that she was knitting? A sweater, maybe. For a small boy.

“Why is she looking at me like that?” she wondered. “It’s as if she’s angry with me. Have I ever seen her before?”

She looked away and tried to recall. No. She’d never seen that face before. She was certain they’d never met.

“What’s the matter with her?” she thought.

She noticed the old woman looking at her hands. “What’s the matter with my hands?”

Then she saw the old woman’s arthritic fingers, and her heart softened a bit. “It must be terrible trying to knit with your fingers all twisted up that way. Too bad. Maybe she just doesn’t have anything else to do.”

They passed by the woman on the bench.

Ben started sobbing.

“Oh, just shut up,” she muttered.