"Once we get on the road, it will be too late to go back," I said.
"I think I'm ready to go," she said.
"That's what you said two days ago," I said.
"I'm sure," she said surely.
Two days ago we finished packing and it was time to think about leaving home for the next four days. We are going to Mammoth Lakes again, our last trip of the summer. As usual, the trip had been designed to take in the scenery, enjoy clean air, and walk by streams and lakes, but HER plans now include going back to every quilt shop we'd been to before and finding new ones on and off our route. That should add about 20,000 miles. After all, we are packing empty bags to take with us so SHE, my DW, can buy satisfy her addiction. But making plans for the trip was no problem. Leaving home became the problem.
After she had looked at the quilt she was working one last time, we began packing. After we finished packing, she began to wail.
"What's wrong," I asked. I noticed both her sewing machines were off, the serger was off, and the quilt she is working on was covered. Between her cries of anguish, I even noticed a strange quiet in the house
"I'm not sure I can do it," she said.
"Yes, you can. Remember where we're going."
"The mountains," she said softly.
"And the lakes."
"And what are we going to do there?"
"And?" I asked.
"Who's going to shop?"
"I am," she said.
"And what else?"
"Shop?" she guessed.
"And?" I prodded.
"And shop and shop and shop."
"Now, what are you so upset about?"
"I just shut off the machines."
"All of them." She let out another tiny cry.
"You had to do it."
"I know." She looked at me with her moist brown eyes. "I put away all the fabric, too."
"And I closed the closet on all the boxes of fat quarters and covered the rack of spools on the wall."
"You're braver than most," I said.
"And I put all the finished quilt blocks in their proper places."
"Sometimes it's good for them to know they have a place." Usually they were wherever she worked, and since that was all over the house, it was not unusual for me to find a churn dash here, a log cabin there, a pinwheel everywhere.
"And I rolled up the batting and put away the paper-piecing books and boxed up the patterns."
"Good, good, good," I said. "Then you're ready to go now?"
"I have to say good-by now."
"You have to say good-by?"
"We'll be gone four days."
"Not if we don't get going."
"They'll know right away that I'm gone. They probably all suspect already."
"They suspect you're going away?" I could guess who "they" were.
"We're very close," she said. It's bad enough they're turned off and all cooped up in their cases. They'll be lonely and they won't know where I am."
"So you have to tell them?" I suspected that she had been telling them for weeks already. She had certainly been quilting day and night.
"I have to tell them we're leaving home," she said. "If I'm sad, I know they're sad."
"Parting is such sweet sorrow," I said.
"I have to convince them I'll be coming back."
"They're hard to convince?"
"The old timers will understand. I've been away from them before. But the new machine hasn't had the experience."
"It's difficult to leave a loved one," I said. I know how to be compassionate.
"So, you'll give us some time alone together?" she asked.
"We don't want to be late getting started," I said gently.
"I know," she said.
It was a long good-by. I put the bags in the car, checked all the windows and doors, turned off the thermostat on the heater/air conditionier, sprayed for insects, turned down the temperature of the hot water heater, swept the kitchen floor, took out the trash, and got ready to turn on the burglar alarm. She certainly had time enough to say good-by.
"I said good-by," she said.
"Do they feel better?" I asked.
"Yes." She rubbed at her eyes to dry them.
"Do you feel better?"
"Yes. I told them I'd hurry back with all kinds of presents for them. Lots of presents."
"Then you're ready to go?" She didn't answer. She just nodded her head and went to the car.
I'm at the computer now, about to send this mail. I am about to turn off the computer, set the alarm, and go to the car. I wonder if I should say good-by to my computer. Nah. It knows I'll be back. Click!
Copyright A.B. Silver 1998
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