"Well, do you notice anything different?" she asked as I walked into the bedroom. Now, when she asks me that question I look at her very carefully. I looked at her hair, her clothes, her earrings, her shoes, her hands and feet and then back up to her head again. And the way she asked the question made me look fast and hard.
"No," I said.
"Look again," she said. I started to look again, but she quickly danced out of my sight. "Not me, Silly," she said in a teasing manner that made me rethink my looking strategy.
"You look fine, terrific, great," I said, just in case she might have done something to herself that I should have noticed.
"Look around. What do you see?" she hinted. At least it was something that could be seen.
"Is it bigger than a bread box?" I asked. "Smaller?"
"You had better notice," she said, her tone just a bit heavy with threat. Boy, did I look around. Faster and harder.
Everything looked the same. The bed. The dresser. The closet. The window. The chair. The bed. I looked back at the bed. "You made the bed!" I said, my voice light, and I smiled a friendly smile. Smile or not, it was not the right thing to say.
"What's on the bed?" she asked coolly.
"The sheets, the blanket, the bedspread, the quilt."
"What was that last thing you said?" she asked.
I looked at bed again. "The quilt," I said.
"And just what quilt is that?" she asked.
And then came the dawn, the electric light bulb, Archimedes' cry of "Eureka!"
"You finished the quilt," I said.
"I'm about to finish you," she said.
"It looks great. It's marvelous! Wonderful! Beautiful! Magnificent! A masterpiece!"
"So, what do you really think?" she asked.
"I really think you finished your quilt." I went over to the bed and looked down at the finished quilt. All the patches, all the squares, all the borders, all the binding, all the quilting stitches were there. It was lovely.
"And do you like it?"
"What's not to like?" I asked.
"You really like it?"
"It's not perfect. Just don't look too close. It's just my first quilt."
"Do you like it?" I asked.
"Just a little?"
"Just a lot?" She was very modest.
"A whole lot," she said. She was aglow now.
"Do you want to celebrate?" I asked.
"I already celebrated," she said.
"How? How did you already celebrate without me?"
"I shouted. I yelled. I laughed out loud."
"Is that all?"
"That was enough. I did celebrate the whole time I worked on it, you know."
"Every night I celebrated that I hadn't ruined it that day."
"I celebrated, too," I said. I lifted the quilt and held it up, and it was some fine quilt.
"What did you celebrate?" she asked.
"Every night I celebrated that you were making a quilt."
"But it wasn't finished then. How did you know I would finish it? I wasn't that sure myself."
"Quilting husbands know things like that."
"I didn't know you were a quilting husband. I thought you were just a tolerant husband with an incredibly insane wife."
"Quilting husbands are insane, too. It's just a quieter, more gentle kind of insanity."
"All right," she said, accepting whatever I had just admitted to. I wasn't sure what that was. "Where do you think I should hang it?" she added, turning the moment around.
"Hang it?" I asked.
"The quilt. I have to hang it. It's my first quilt. You said you like it, didn't you?"
"I love it, and we can hang it on one of those poles in the front of the house. We can put it up it and it will make all those nylon flags people fly in front of their houses look like pieces of belly-button lint compared with your quilt."
"Quilts don't hang outside. Besides, I'm not a show-off."
"Remember when we were in Pennsylvania and we saw all those quilts hanging outside people's houses. Some were just hanging over the fences along the road."
"They were for sale," she said.
"Then we can sell yours and...." Oops! I ate the rest of my words.
"THIS NOT FOR SALE!" she said very loudly.
"You would never want to sell your first quilt," I agreed. "Absolutely not."
"But I can make another quilt."
"Yes, you can."
"And another and another and another and another and...."
Today she started on a new quilt. When it's finished it will be her second quilt. And I plan to notice it the moment it's finished. And then we will celebrate together. I promise.
Click here to see Joan's First Quilt
Copyright A.B. Silver 1998
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