It was an invasion. No doubt. There were signs everywhere. The last vestige of my freedom was in jeopardy. I had to defend myself with all the might I had. And most of all, she had made no effort to hide her tracks. The evidence was overwhelming. Confrontation was the only way. I had to defend my way of life.
"You don't have enough room in the rest of the house?" I asked before she had a chance to deny anything.
"What?" she replied.
"Don't play the innocent with me," I said.
"What are you talking about?"
"Your sewing room and quilting room and cutting room are not big enough?"
"My rooms?" She looked bewildered, but I had seen that put-on look before. She was master of disguise. Once she had become a quilter, I could expect anything from her.
"I still remember when you took over the pantry," I said. It wasn't long into her quilting that I went to find some canned peaches. But instead of the shelf full of fruit I expected, I found that she had taken over yet another room, and she had left little enough space for the food we had stored away. If there were a blizzard or a flood or a hurricane or an earthquake, what could a cutting table and six shelves full of fabric do to feed us?
"That was a long time ago," she said. "What are you hinting at?"
"I'm not hinting. I found you out. Quilting creep won't work this time."
She looked at me with those virtuous eyes. "Quilting creep?"
"You know what I mean," I accused. "First, just a corner of the back room for your quilting supplies. Then another corner for a second sewing machine. Then the middle of the room for your ironing board. Then all the bookshelves for your stash. Then the old stereo cabinet for your templates and rulers and squares. And you have a closet full of quilting thread. I should have known it from the beginning that the quilt creep wouldn't end. First an inch, then a mile," I said knowingly. I pointed my finger at her. "You already have most of the house. Now you want more." I pointed all my ten fingers at her. She pulled herself back away from me. She knew she was guilty.
"Quilting takes a lot of space. You have a computer room."
"Aha!" I said. She knew what I was saying. "So you admit to quilting creep?"
"I don't admit to anything I don't understand. If you're talking about crepe...."
"Don't confuse the issue with fabric--or a silly French pancake. I'm talking about how you took over the book shelves when you ran out of room. I'm talking about how you took over the cupboards in the kitchen. I'm talking about how the hall closets contain your exploding volume of stash. I'm talking about your sneaking around to take over the computer room now." She looked at me, her eyes, her face, her body all trying to convey innocence. "Maybe you're right," I continued. I was not fooled by her duplicity. "It's not just creep. It's not crawl. It's an all out invasion."
"I don't want your computer room," she said as she turned away.
"Oh, no?" I moved to face her again. "Then why is my desk in there covered with your paper? Paper squares and paper triangles everywhere." I had her. She squirmed. She was wrapped in guilt. I had the evidence and I was confronting her and she knew she was trapped.
"Did I leave something in there?" she asked, feigning ignorance again.
"All over the place. It's spring and yet there's a blizzard of paper in there."
"I was just using the copy machine to copy some paper-piecing patterns."
"Aha! You admit it!"
"I admit I'm making a wall-hanging."
"Another wall-hanging? You want my walls too, don't you." I had seen the walls of the house disappear one by one, surrendering themselves to wall-hangings and little quilts and big quilts. Soon she'd need swing-out quilt racks on every wall, and she would give out white gloves to every visitor as she displayed her work on the swinging racks, one after another.
"You have all the walls in your computer room covered with photos and posters and computer stuff, don't you?"
"I admit that. Those are the only walls I have left. Do you admit trying to take over the whole house?"
"You do?" This was too easy. She should have fought more. I expected her to shout her defiance.
"Yes," she said, "and do you know those two empty drawers and that shelf in your desk?" She smiled a treacherous smile. She grinned. She gloated. There was evil in her smile.
"They're not empty anymore. Neither is the top shelf above the computer or the space under the desk." She was breathing more heavily. "I want it all and I am taking it all. This will soon be a total quilting house." Her eyes were glazed over, her face flushed with power. I expected to see foam coming out of her mouth next.
"You can't have my side of the bed," I said, defiantly. It could soon be all I had left. I would fight to the end.
"I don't need your side of the bed," she replied quietly. Her face became soft and she smiled sweetly now. "Not yet."
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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