My Darling Wife is fickle. She is not faithful. Oh, she claims to be, as when she is deeply involved with a new project, the book which is guiding her lovingly in hand, that book always by her side. But when the mailman comes, when it's a new book with a new project, she breaks her vows and wanders afar. She strays. She becomes overcome by lust and flits from one attraction to another, promising loyalty and devotion, but breaking that promise regularly.
"I can't help it," she said last night as we sat at the dinner table. Dinner was hardly begun when she opened her new quilting book and sighed and swooned.
"I thought you were going to eat dinner," I said, knowing no matter what I said, she wouldn't put the new book away. Since its arrival two hours before, she hadn't put it down. I didn't expect that any such thing as hunger would have her trade the book for a salad or piece of poached salmon or a cup of tea. Not when she could do both very well. She's had a lot of practice with quilt books and quilt magazines at the side of her plate.
"I am eating dinner," she said, her response coming only after she had turned a page in the book and taken a forkful of romaine lettuce to her mouth.
"You're reading the new book and you are smiling and frowning at the same time." She was. She did that often when she was quilting and came to some dilemma. Her problem now, I knew, was how to break the news to the soon-to-be-jilted book she had been so involved with only that morning.
"I can't help myself," she said.
"You're confused," I suggested.
"No, I'm not confused. I know what I'm doing. I can't just resist temptation.
"The new book is temptation?"
"Like the snake in the Garden," she said.
"You've bitten the apple?" I thought that's what Adam did.
"I was going to put the new book away until I finished the quilt I began in the last book, but I was weak."
"So, you were tempted to open the book and you did and now you are being kicked out of Eden?"
"No, what?" I asked.
"I have too many Edens," she said.
"Too many gardens?"
"Too many books. And I can't resist reading them, and when I do I find a project I just have to do, and I start it, but then I open another book and see a new project, and I stray to where the grass looks greener."
"You're a sheep?" I asked. I thought we were talking quilting. Now we were talking about her having a roaming eye.
"I don't want to be a fallen woman," she said.
"Not at your age," I said. "Your bones aren't what they used to be," I added.
"I'm not talking about my physical health. I'm talking about my mental health." She took a deep breath, sighed, and closed the book by her plate.
"Now you've thrown two books overboard," I said.
"You jilted this morning's book so you can have your tawdry little affair with the new book, and now you've pushed the new book aside. Are all quilters so capricious?"
"It's hard not to be," she said, serious now, her voice firm and determined.
"There are just too many good books to read, and besides you're involved in this as much as I am."
"I'm involved?" I spend twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes a day trying not to be involved with her quilting. It must be that last minute.
"You brought me the book," she said accusingly.
"I brought in the mail," I said.
"You should have hidden the new book," she said, tossing her guilt right at me. I didn't try to catch it.
"You would have made a quilt out of me if I kept it from you," I said. There are some things quilting husbands never did. One of them was get between a quilter and her quilting. Not ever. Never ever. No way!
"Well. it's too late now. You forced the book on me, urged me to open it when you knew I was working on another project, and I, being a good wife, did what you said, and now I'm a two-timer."
"So, give up one of the books," I said.
"I love them both. I love them all. It's just...." She didn't finish. She opened the book in front of her. She turned a few pages. She took a bite of her salad. She took a zip of tea. She closed the book again.
"And?" I wanted to help her, to comfort her, to give her the support she needed to make the right decision.
"The new book," she said. "I can't help it. I'm weak. I want to do every project. No wonder I have so many UFOs and WIPs. But this is the last time. No new books. No new projects. When I finish this project, I'm going to finish the last project, and then I'm going back to all my other projects and finish them." With that she pounded the table for emphasis and finished her tea.
"You're not even going to look at another book for a while?" I asked. "And what about the magazines that seem to come every day?"
"Did a magazine come today? Where? Let me see it?"
"No magazine came today, but you will get them while you're working on this project. Then what?"
"Well, maybe I'll look at a new book or magazine, but I won't use it. Even if I love it, I won't let it think I'm going to do a project just because it's new and fantastic and I already have the fabric for the project."
"You'll be strong," I suggested.
"Temptation, get thee behind me," I'll say.
"You're sure?" I really wanted to believe her. But, but, she's a quilter.
"I'll will try," she said.
"That's all anyone can do," I said. And I suppose she will try. But I'm not going to let her have the two new magazines and the new book that came today. Not yet.
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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