Tag: Stitch

STITCH: A Risky Stitch by G. Ackman

Word Count 428 words
A Risky Stitch
by G. Ackman

We heard it on the news a few hours before the phone rang, so the call was not totally unexpected, although definitely unwanted.  
“Can you come?  The usual place.  Midnight.”
Without a word to each other, we prepared to leave.  I took a long look around the apartment, wondering if I would ever see it again.  If things went badly tonight, I probably would not.
The street, dark and shiny from the rain, mocked us with its apparent infiniteness.  Normally an hour and a half drive during which we chatted lightly or sang along with a CD, this time the car was filled with a palatable silence.  The trip seemed both interminable and over way too fast.  His hands gripped the wheel so tightly that I could see the white of his knuckles in the red glow of his cigarette.  He smoked one after another.
I played with a strand of my hair and stared at the errant rain drops chasing each other down the window.
What did he hope to accomplish?  Did he know he might be throwing his – no, our – lives away?  Of course he did.  He has somewhat of an excuse.  But what about me?  What’s my excuse?  I understand the risks – and the stupidity of doing this.  Oh, but the things we do for love.
The final bridge loomed in front of us, our destination just a half mile down the road.  He reached down and switched off the headlights.  I turned to look at him, but said nothing and soon returned my gaze to the window and the darkness beyond.  The narrow bridge over the muddy Wabash River incited a bit of anxiety on a clear, sunny day.  To traverse it in the dark, with no headlights, and expecting the worst at any time should have had me paralyzed with terror.  Instead, I remained calm, fatalistic even.  I signed on for this and would see it through to its conclusion, whatever that may be.
Three hours later we were back on that same bridge, but this time with headlights on and heading in the opposite direction.  Strangely enough, my palms were sweating more now than they did on the eastbound journey and I noticed his cigarette consumption was just as constant. We neither talked nor sang, each of us lost in our own thoughts.  
Two weeks later, when he was recaptured, my husband’s brother remained silent on who stitched up the long gash in his head he got from climbing over the prison’s outer perimeter fence.  We have never spoken of that night.

STITCH: The Day the Rabbit Died By Peg Scarano

Word: Stitch
Word Count: 507

The Day the Rabbit Died
By Peg Scarano

It was a hot August day and the neighborhood children were romping around the pool while my friend and I played lifeguard. Jenny volunteered to make a Cool-Pop run. The pool gate flew open as she bounded toward the house tripping up the concrete steps. Her scream sent chills up my spine in spite of the heat of the day. I bounded out of my chair and assured myself Jenny was over-reacting to a scraped knee.

I looked at her knee. All I saw was a gash and what looked to be her kneecap. I do not do blood. Panic set in. As calmly as I could, I said to her, “Get in the kitchen and sit down.” I helped her hobble to the house and sat her down. I grabbed the first towel I saw (white, of course) and immediately threw it on her knee just as I saw Mount Vesuvius spew red lava. “Hold this tight,” I cried as I looked away.

I grabbed the phone and called my husband. Fortunately, he answered on the first ring. “Come home right now!” I wheezed and hung up. I then called my pediatrician’s office and while I was hyperventilating and gasping for air, I whimpered, “Jenny fell and I can see her kneecap,” and hung up.

My OB-GYN and pediatrician were married. I was surprised to see my OB-GYN meet us at the door and then I remembered him telling me after the birth of one of the girls that he loved to sew and embroider. He took one look at Jenny’s knee and calmly whispered, “Take her to the ER. I’ll meet you there.” That didn’t sound good!

Five minutes later, Jenny was in an exam room and I determined I was the worst mother in the world as I couldn’t look at her, afraid I would see blood and feel more nauseous than I was already feeling. Reflecting on that thought for a moment, I recalled I had been feeling queasy for several days. As the doctor prepared to perform a work of art on Jenny’s knee, he looked at me and said, “You don’t look so good. Are you OK?” I shook my head in thought and asked if he could write me prescription for a lab test.

While Jenny and her dad were being brave and supportive, respectively, I left the room. As I wobbled back to the ER, the doctor was just finishing his masterpiece. I was told there were three layers of stitches on her knee cap. How do you do that when there was no skin in sight? At least it was bandaged and I could be a loving and caring mother again.

Later that night, the phone rang. It was the good doctor asking me how the patient was faring and then informed me the rabbit had died so I had better get ready to deal with more bumps, bruises, broken bones and blood. That piece of news was the final stitch in sewing up our eventful day!

STITCH: Not in This House By Sally Madison

Word Count 476
Not in This House
By Sally Madison

Mavis was in the den tending her sewing when Johnny came crashing into the room. “Mama, have there been any King Johnnys, afor? George is talkin’ at school that we’re related to King George, just ‘cause his name is George.”
“I don’t recall a King John, but there were several Pope Johns. We are not related to King George, nor any Pope, but we do have royalty in our blood. My mama told me that her great great grandmamma was a countess. In fact I have something here that once belonged to her.” She reached into the secret compartment of her sewing stool and pulled out the treasure. “This is truly special,” she explained. “Someday, I will be giving it to Baby Emily,” as she rocked the cradle at her feet, with her toe.
“What’s so special about a marble bag with beads on it?” Johnny said unimpressed, as George entered the room. “Mama says that Pope John is more impor’ant than King George.”
“I’ll show you who’s more impor’ant,” said George, with fists poised for a boxing match.
“Boys, stop that this minute. I won’t have brother fightin’ brother in this house. There is enough blood shed outside of this house. In this family we settle our difference with a game of checkers. Sit right down here, and do your battling on the checker board,” she insisted.
A few minutes later they heard thundering foot steps on the porch. “Pa’s home!” the boys exclaimed running to the door, as their father reached the den. “What happened, Pa?’ as they backed up, studying his bloody broken face. “I tell you Mavis, it’s bad out there. All ove’ the Kansas Territory, battles are being fought in the streets. This business about the Union telling us what to do with our property is wrong. The fellas were talking, so I tried to explain my position and b’fore I knew it, there was fighting everywhere. I won’t be surprised if this country doesn’t split right in two, maybe even a war.”
“If there is to be a war, Pa, then we want to be soldiers too,” the boys insisted.
“Well boys, if there is to be a war around her’, then you best be prepared. Let’s go out to the barn and we’ll figure out what we should do,” taking the boys away from Mavis who was clearly getting upset.
Mavis gently fingered the delicate bag in her hand. She gazed inside at the jewels that her mother had left her, keepsakes from the clandestine Morgan family business. They were as beautiful, as well as, precious and priceless. One of the black pearls had come loose. She turned the fragile bag inside out and added a stitch or two, to make it secure, then, she tucked bag with the jewels back into her sewing stool, as safe as ever.

STITCH: Stitch to Mend a Soul by B.A. Sarvey

Word Count 499

Stitch to Mend a Soul
B.A. Sarvey
She considered the woman, pursed her lips, nodded. Yes. The sandy-textured aqua chiffon. The Mender slid the piece from the shelf and draped it around her customer. While she pinned and tucked, she talked. By the time she finished designing and fitting the gown, she had convinced the mother of the groom that her son was not lost to her, she would survive this separation—indeed would be better for it—and possibly gain a friend in this girl who had charmed her way into the beloved boy’s heart.
Known as The Mender, she was as much a seamstress of souls as a sewer of clothes. Man, woman or child, no one walked into her shop who did not walk out with a new lease on life. A stitch here, a word there, she fastened together life’s fragments as her thread mended a garment.
Friends were customers; Customers: friends. A visit with The Mender often involved a cup of tea—soothing Darjeeling, bracing English Breakfast, pungent peppermint or chamomile; Iced in sweltering summer, served hot to ward off winter’s chill, tea comforted, loosened the tongue, opened the mind, settled the stomach. Its aroma lingered long after the pot was emptied.
They came for all reasons—new duds, shortened hemlines—or for no reason. Buttons provided an excuse. Rattling through her button box, like sifting for seashells, she could find an irregular button carved from antler for the huntsman with battered heart. Heavy-duty thread and kind words secured it. Pink daisy-shaped ones went to the child who lost her dog, with reassurances that he would be found—or that another would find her. An ample supply of mother-of-pearl was kept for the lonely neighbor who lost a button weekly.
A sterling silver thimble she wore like a crown, her scissors—a scepter. She reigned supreme from the humble throne in the sewing room of her modest home. The shelves beamed like a rainbow caught in the sun’s unexpected brilliance—ROY-G-BIV held court beside her, robed in shimmery satins, calicos printed with posies and stripes, darkest denim, and ethereal silks.
She threaded her needles with all the right words; embellished with beads to celebrate joy; zippered shut chasms of grief; the flywheel’s steady clack echoed life’s hum. Seemed like she had seen it all—few unravelings had passed her by. Practice made her adept at stitching patches on rents made by death or abandonment; repairing disappointments that gaped like split seams; or ironing out the rumples accumulated by living. Adroitly, she fashioned garments of bright madras for the melancholy, luxurious burgundy velvet for the bereaved, adorned linen with lace for the lonely.
The Mender stitched pearls of wisdom onto every garment she could. After all, she spoke from experience.
But sometimes, the needle slipped and pricked her so she bled. Then, alone in the darkness, The Mender searched futilely for the right color thread, the words, to mend herself, appreciating the irony of a seamstress who wore a tattered, store-bought soul.

STITCH: Sapiens By Sharon Collins

Word Count 500
By Sharon Collins

I did not witness my Grandmother’s Judgement, although I was present, in-utero, but present nonetheless. To ensure our continued survival that Fourth-Dawn, Mother donned the Shattered-Shell-Necklace and became the Headman’s Third-Wife. The Clan believe me to be his, but my long bones and flat-brow, speak otherwise.

Today Mother sews me a new tunic. I fear it will be her last, for she is nearing her end. Bent with toil and shame, her greying hair tangles in the shells of The Necklace she must never remove, her mother’s lasting legacy. Laboriously she pierces the skin with a stone awl and then hole by hole pushes the gut-lacing along. I will wear it with pride when she is gone, but I will not wear The Necklace. I will weigh it down with a stone and cast it back into the sea.

I wish to take the work from Mother’s tired fingers, but the Headman’s First-Wife watches, and I dare not. I wait patiently for her to turn away. I have the tool tucked inside my tunic. Its point pokes me, and the small pain makes me smile as I remember the day I thought to create it.

Sitting on the beach breaking clam shells, I watched a crab drag an iridescent string of fish-gut home to its lair. Depositing its dinner before the opening, it worked its way around the string of flesh and begin to push it through the hole. Try as it might, the piece of gut folded and twisted but would not go through. Failing to push its treasure in, the crab dragged the uncooperative mass aside and retreated into the den. I thought it had given up when I saw a claw reach out, grasp one end of the stringy mess, and pull the prize in with ease. The simplicity struck me. Pull the gut; do not push it…if only Mother could do this too…

It took many attempts before I got the tool just right. I tried making it of shell first, but the point was too brittle to pierce even the softest skin. I looked for a sharp stone with a hole, but I never found one. Finally, I thought to use bone. Slyly, I secreted several wing bones from the midden and ground each to a point. Then using the stone awl, I pierced the other end. How I wanted to cry when they cracked. But I did not give up. I shaped a new one and left it in sea-water to soften so I could drill without damage. Once dry, I had a perfect sewing too. Today it pokes me and tells me that the moment has come. The Headman’s Wife has gone off to scold his Second-Wife.

I take the tunic from my mother and thread my tool. I press its sharp point through the soft hide. In and out it goes. I pull the gut through. Mother’s closes her eyes. She does not see me complete the first stitch in Time.

STITCH: “A Stitch in Time “ By Nan Ressue

Word Count: 461
“A Stitch in Time “
By Nan Ressue
It was such a warm, loving evening with friends who care; one with sincere conversation, genuine laughter and a few tears sprinkled in. But the time to leave had inevitably arrived, saying goodnight to people I loved and climbing into my car for the solitary ride home… It was the seasonal mild, summer night with its velvety blackness enfolding me as I paused for a moment at the crest of my favorite long, winding hill, plunging in the darkness in the old familiar way.
I tipped over the crest and began the decent, slowly gaining speed as gravity tugged at the wheels. It was a little faster than I was used to and thought I would pump the brakes for best control. My hands clutched the wheel and my fingers turned white as my foot slapped the floorboards desperately hoping for that comforting grab of control. There was none. I’m still making the curves OK I told myself as the car swerved around one after the other, hurtling downward, but can I make the next one? The hill went on forever and ever, now vibrating, faster, more blurred, more frightening and now a sickening screech of metal as I sideswiped an oncoming car, horn blaring and my stomach twisting. I know there is a right angle turn at the bottom. Here it comes, here it comes. A shriek ripped from my lips and then SILENCE…. I seemed to watch in slow motion as the car tumbled end over end, finally coming to rest in in the wooded ravine at the base of the hill on its crushed roof with a body dangling upside down in the driver’s seat.,.
I became an interested spectator, floating above the scene, watching frantic efforts to free my body before the explosion, revolving red lights on the emergency vehicles outlining the car wreck and the trapped driver in desperate condition.
I woke up on the operating table with two faces peering down into mine.
“I think I can straighten her jawline doctor and stitch up the facial gashes. The burns will be the worst pain but losing her eyes will hurt her the most.”
He was wrong. The greater pain was waiting in the corridor.
They wheeled me back to the room which would be mine for a lengthy stay and eased me gingerly into the bed.
I was so very happy to hear my mother and sister’s voices in the hall. They approached the bed and gently asked”, We’re sorry to disturb you but we’re looking for Suzanne Ames’ room. We can’t seem to find her”
That was the day I discovered that even though my eyes could no longer see, they could still cry.