She went up and down the stairs six times that morning.
"You went up and down the stairs six times this morning," I said.
"I'm trying to decide," she said.
"Trying to decide what?" I asked.
"Do you think we need another frog?"
"Frogs are good," I said. "They're cute and cuddly," I added. We had had several frogs find their way into our back yard since May. Each croaked its frog song through several nights before disappearing, probably into some other backyard where it could dance all night.
"I'm talking about the wall hanging I 've been thinking about."
"You just made a frog quilt. You made another one before that. You told me you were frogged out."
"I was. I am. But I started to make it before I was frogged out, and I should finish it."
"Frogs should always be finished," I said. "Half a frog can't hop well," I said.
"All right, if you say so," she said.
"What did I say?" I asked. She has, as do many quilters we know, a way of seeing things in a different way when it involved anything to do with quilting.
"You said I should finish the wall hanging so the frog can have a happy life."
"No doubt that's exactly what I meant to say," I said.
"Good. I'll go work on the frog now. No frog should be unpieced," she said.
"Unpieced?" I asked, but she was already up the stairs again, hopping all the way, I guessed.
"I have an unhappy frog," she said several days later. She faced me with her wall hanging rolled up with only the backing showing. She held the roll of quilting tightly with both hands.
"Unhappy? Like sad, depressed, despondant, distraught, heartsick, dispirited?" I asked.
"How would you feel if you had a witch's curse placed on you?" she demanded.
"Cursed," I said, not knowing what else to say.
'"Well, our frog is cursed."
"It was your idea to finish the frog," she said.
I didn't disagree. That would have made no sense. If she were quilting a wall hanging of a frog and I encouraged her in the least, which I did, I had to accept my share of the blame for whatever happened. I just didn't remember any witch. "And you say that a witch flew into your sewing room and put a curse on your frog?" I asked carefully.
"I was thinking a princess frog when I began," she said. "And I got a strange confusing frog."
"I thought you were following a pattern," I started to say, but she answered before I was up to the question mark.
"It was supposed to be a beautiful happy frog, but it's become an ugly frog. Somehow there's a curse on the frog and it is unhappily trapped in a strange frog's body."
"I thought it was supposed to have a frog's body?" I asked logically.
"There are frog bodies and then there are frog bodies. Also, the frog's face isn't a happy face."
"Are you making this all up?" I asked.
"Do you need to see the wall hanging before you'll believe me, your own wife, a woman who knows when she's quilted a twisted frog, a frog cursed."
"I know frogs," I said. "I'll take a look." I shouldn't have said that. Real frogs and quilted frogs often have no resemblance to each other.A paper-pieced frog, for that was what she had been working on, lives in a different dimension that only quilters can recognize as they create new life.
"You tell me what kind of frog this is," she said, and she unrolled the wall hanging and showed me her frog.
"Different," I said.
"See. I told you it was cursed."
"Not ugly, though. Actually it's kind of cute."
"Cute? Look again."
I looked at the beige and green and red and orange frog. "Definitely different but cute."
"Again," she said.
"Maybe it's a tropical frog. Some of them are quite brightly colored and dazzling."
"Dazzling? Do you think so?" she asked hopefully. I think that was the tone of her voice, a plea that maybe the frog had some charm, some reason for being. I looked at the frog closely; then, I backed away and looked again. I squinted at the frog. I covered one eye and looked at it with the open one. Then, I switched eyes. "Given a chance, it could be an honorable frog," I said.
"Maybe if you'd kiss it," she said.
"If there's a curse on it and you kiss it, the frog will become a princess and live happily ever after."
"You want me to kiss your quilt?"
"It's the least you can do. You didn't stop the witch from hitting it on the head with its nasty wand and scream curses at it."
"You're kidding, right?"
"Kiss the frog," she said.
"I like it just the way it is," I said. "It has a lot of class, a personality of its own."
"Do you think so, really?"
"Absolutely. Everyone who sees this frog will says that is one absolutely amazing frog. Everyone will want one exactly like it."
"You'd better kiss it anyway."
I kissed the frog, pressing my lips to its lips. The room filled with rainbows and bright white clouds, the quilt shimmered, and sparks of gold fell from the ceiling. Blue lights filled the corners of the room and invisible harps played celestial music. I stared at the frog. It looked exactly the same, though I am convinced it winked at me and smiled a happy frog smile.
"It didn't change into a princess," I said when the room cleared.
"No, it didn't,"my Darling Wife said.
"It's still a neat frog, a real princess frog," I said.
"Do you think so?"
"Absolutely. If we weren't already married, I might be interested in a froggie relationship," I said.
"Not with this frog," she said. She rolled the quilt up quickly.
"So, the frog's happy now?" I asked.
"We'll let you know," she said, and she took her bright and colorful and different de-cursed frog up to her sewing room.
'Ribbit," I said.
Copyright 2002 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Princess Frog Quilt"
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