It was getting close to lunchtime, and she was still working on her Sunbonnet quilt. She was intense as she sewed sashing around each appliqued square. I had a question to ask her, but I decided to wait until she was free. I went back to the garage where I had piled up some old clothes to give to Goodwill. But, I still had to ask her about some dresses, so I went back to her sewing room. She was gone.

"Where are you?" I hollered out.

"Here, in the living room" she yelled back from somewhere. Following a trail of threads down the hallway, I tracked her down.

"I wanted to ask you about the clothes," I began as I entered the living room where she was putting her sewing machine on the banquet tables we had set up so she could start putting her newest quilt together.

"What clothes?" she asked. "Let me see them."

I didn't have them with me, so I went back into the garage and brought back the bag of clothes. "Here they are," I said, but she didn't answer. She was no longer in the room.

"Where are you?" I yelled out.

"In here," she yelled.

I chased after some fading sound waves and found her in her old office off the kitchen where she now had a cutting table. She was using her rotary cutter, cutting strips of fabric. "Sashing," she answered before I asked her what she was cutting.

"Do you want to look at these clothes?" I asked.

"What clothes?"

"I left them in the living room," I said.

"Well, get them," she said. I went to get them. When I returned, the cutting room was empty. Her rotary cutter sat lonely on the cutting mat.

"Where are you?" I yelled.

"In here," she said, her voice very muffled. I followed the muffles down the hall to the back closet. The door was open and half of her was bent over into the closet. She was on her tiptoes. "Here," hold these," she said as I opened to door all the way. I put down the bag of old clothes I was holding. She handed me a pile of fat quarters.

"Have you ever heard of staying in one place," I asked her as I took the fabric. She came out of the closet and I followed her into the sewing room.

"I am in one place," she said.

"You're all over the place," I said. I put down the fabric.

"I'm making a quilt," she said.

"You're making me tired," I said.

"What do you want?" she asked as if she had no idea I had been chasing her all over the house.

"The clothes for Goodwill," I said. I was very patient with this woman who sometimes posed as my sensible Darling Wife, but when she was quilting, all bets were off.

"What clothes?" she asked. I had left them by the closet door. I went to get them.

"Swoosh," I heard. "Blur," I saw. "Whirrr," I went. I was spun around as something passed me in the hall. Someone. She was no longer in the sewing room.

I found her in the kitchen. She was looking into the refrigerator. I set the bag of clothes on the counter and waited for her.

"Lunch time," she said as she turned toward me.

"I'm giving everything in this bag to Goodwill," I said.

"Aren't you at least going to let me look at it first?" she asked.

"If you would stay still long enough," I said.

"I am standing still. Open the bag and show me." Her hands were holding a bowl of salad.

"You promise to look at what I show you?" I asked.

"Of course," she said.

"All right." I opened the bag and pulled out a light blue dress. She looked at it.

"Hold it," she said as she moved to put the bowl of salad down on the kitchen table. I shouldn't have let her get that far. She didn't come back.

I put the dress back into the bag and put the bag down. I followed her trail to the kitchen table where she had put the bowl down by her chair. I turned and followed her trail back into the cutting room. She was crawling out from under the table where she was pulling out a box of fabric. I watched her rummage through the fabric. She pulled out a piece of blue fabric and stood.

"The old dress reminded me I had this piece of fabric here. It's the last piece I need to use for the sashing. Thanks for helping me find it."

"What are you doing?" I asked as she pushed the box back under the table.

"I'm getting lunch," she said.

"How long have you been getting lunch?" I asked.

"About an hour."

"It's taken you an hour to get lunch?" So far, all I saw that resembled lunch was the salad.

"It's hard to get lunch sometimes," she explained.

"And why is that? It never took you long to make lunch in the past," I said.

"I wasn't quilting in the past."

"Quilting makes you a slow lunch-getter?" I asked.

"I started to make lunch an hour ago," she began, "but when I went to the refrigerator, the miniature quilt I made looked crooked hanging on the refrigerator door. So I straightened it. But then quilt made me think about the colors on the Sunbonnet quilt, so I had to go check some of the sashing. While I was doing that I noticed some of the strips were cut wrong, so I had to redo them. While I was doing that, I had to change the thread in the bobbin, and while I looked for the right color spool, I remembered that I hadn't finished cutting the reproduction fabric, so I went to do that, but then you were yelling all over the house, so while I was wondering what you wanted, I forgot to get the salad out, but then...."

"You got sidetracked?" I understood it all. Every word.

She thought a moment. "I got sidetracked," she said.


Copyright A.B. Silver 1998

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