Rubik's Square




"I always hated Rubik's Cube," she said. She was sitting on the floor next to her flannel board, arranging the nine-patch squares she had made for her quilt.

I accepted the invitation to have a conversation with her. "I didn't like it much either," I said. "My hands always hurt afterwards."

"My hands don't hurt," she said. She was staring at the 49 squares in front of her.

I tried another answer. "I didn't like Rubik's Cube because I never could do it."

"It drove me crazy," she said. Ah, now we were getting close to it.

"It drove me a little crazy, too," I said.

"My head doesn't do spatial relations," she said. "Nothing ever matched up. Not then, not now."

Oh, oh, this was heading somewhere. "What about not now?" I asked, carefully, gently.

"Twelve squares are wrong," she said. "Twelve of them look just like a Rubik's cube."

"I don't see anything wrong," I said as I looked where she was looking. The design for the Snowball quilt looked fine. Actually, I was dazzled by it and impressed at all the work my Darling Wife had done.

"I didn't see it before either," she said. "I started sewing the squares together and didn't even begin to see it." She moved to the flannel board then and started to move one of the squares. The nine patches in the square were made up of two patches each of four different calico fabric with a white patch in the middle. She turned the square around and around and around and around. I got dizzy watching her.

"It looks fine any way you turn it," I said, trying to be helpful, trying to contribute to her quilting joy.

"It's wrong any way I turn it," she said. She went to another square and began rotating it. Then she switched that square with another square. She rotated both squares, one with each hand. My eyes were on a spinning pin-wheel.

"What's wrong with it?" I asked. Someone had to ask that question. It was time for a reality check.

"It's backwards. It's upside down. It's turned around. It's counterclockwise instead of clockwise. It's clockwise instead of counter clockwise."

"Well, that explains it." I said. Now I was not only dizzy but, in trying to keep up with her, my head had rotated 180 degrees.

"It won't work. I did some of the squares backwards or sideways."

"Well, you can take them apart and do it the way it should be." I always tried to encourage her.

"I can take you apart and put you back together the way you should be," she said. She pulled a square off the board and then another and then another.

"How many?" I asked when she was done and the quilt top looked as if she had used a shotgun on it.

"Twelve. I did twelve wrong." She held a pile of squares and stared at them. Then she tossed them aside with a sigh.

"Can't you take them apart and resew them?" What did I know?

"There are ten billion tiny stitches holding the patches together," she said. I took that as a negative answer.

"What are you going to do with them? Maybe she could punish them in some way.

"I can use them for something else. I'll make a doll quilt or a wall hanging or a snore quilt."

"A snore quilt? What's a snore quilt?"

"Something to put over you face when you sleep to stop you from snoring." She smiled, and I knew she had forgotten Rubik's Cube.

"What about this quilt?"

"I'll make twelve new squares and do them right."

"And you'll make them perfect this time?"

"It's my first quilt. It won't be perfect."

"There, then," I said in a positive manner. What else could I have said?

"But it'll be almost perfect," she said. "Something like you. Almost perfect. After I finish the quilt, I'll start on you."

"No, you'll have another quilt to make," I suggested quickly. "Or a doll. Or a dress. Something."

"You'd better hope so," she said.

I'm hoping. She's in the other room now cutting strips for the new squares, and I'm really hoping.

Copyright A.B. Silver 1998

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