When she didn't come out of the bathroom right away, as she usually did, I began to worry. Oh, I didn't worry that she had been flushed down through the sewer system to some sanitation department sump, though I did think of the possibility. No, I thought maybe she was sick or had slipped on the floor or had drowned in the shower. I worried a while, thought of going after her, waited some more out of politeness, then worried a lot more.
"Hon, are you all right in there?" I asked through the door.
"Uhmm, huh," she said. At least it sounded something like that. I took that as a sign that she was still alive, but I wasn't really sure.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yehhhmmmm, ahhump," was her response. At least that sounded more affirmative. I lay down on the bed and picked up a news magazine and tried to control myself. If the plumbing in the other bathroom hadn't been under repair, I wouldn't have fidgeted. The minutes ticked on by. I couldn't concentrate on the magazine. I began to feel my stomach take up the wait along with my mind.
Maybe she wasn't getting enough fiber, I thought. No, she ate enough fruit and fiber and yogurt and other natural foods to make the "Guinness Book of Digestive Records." Maybe she was getting too much, I thought. Maybe she needed a couple dozen bananas. "Hon," you all right?" I called again, my voice loud enough to shake the house. I hoped it was loud enough and concerned enough to shake her out of there.
The bathroom door opened a crack. "Just fine, dear," she said, her voice sliding through the narrow opening.
She was being "just fine" an awfully long time, I thought. I went back to my magazine. I read about our city, our state, our nation, our world. But I really couldn't concentrate. I finally had enough.
I knocked on the door. "It's tomorrow," I said. "You've been in there a whole day." Now I know that was a slight exaggeration, but it sure seemed like I had been waiting for her twenty-four hours.
I heard some gurgling sounds and the door opened. She stood there a moment, looked at me carefully, and said, in a rather nonchalant way, "It's all yours."
"It's about time," I said gently.
"It's only been a couple of minutes," she said.
She came out. I went in. I was puzzled by her concept of time, but I didn't want to argue with her just then. I had business.
Then awareness. Revelation. Epiphany. In a flash I knew why she had taken so long. No, there was no sign of trouble, no sign of illness, no sign for concern. On the counter, on the floor, on the shelf, marked and tagged with Post-its, sat about a hundred quilting magazines. "Quilt" and "Quilt More" and "Quilt a Lot" and "Quilt Until You Drop" and a dozen other magazines were left behind. She had been putting her future in order, enjoying every spare moment she could reading and marking all the magazines, page by page, getting new projects lined up, enough projects, from the looks of it, to last her to the year 3000. She had been lost in her own little odd world of quilting, oblivious to her own darling husband's fears, his needs.
Well, it was my turn. Now, what was I going to read? I had forgotten to bring any magazines. I looked all around. Only quilt magazines were in this library. I sighed, resigned myself, and picked one. The first article I opened to was, "How to Find Time to Quilt." I began to read. The article began, "When you are not involved in quilting, you can use those spare moments in your day when your mind is free to plan and design your next project...." It then went on to give some examples. Not one of them involved the room I was in. I think I'll write the magazine a letter....
Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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