"No more quilts," she said as she walked to the couch, leaned backwards, and sat herself down deep into the cushions until she disappeared.
"Forever?" I asked. I had heard that before.
"For now," she said, her voice a cushion too, soft and plump, coming from the depths of the sofa.
"Too many quilts?" I asked. It was a sensible question. Oh, I could have asked if she had had a vision of some giant quilt smothering her in the night or if she heard a voice that screamed, "Stop!" at her. But she didn't have visions or hear strange sounds in the night. Still, she did have times when she was exhausted, one quilt too many pushed through the eye of the needle on her sewing machine, one long strand of thread becoming a quilt of one sort or another. Usually another.
"I need a little change," she said.
"How little of a change?" I asked.
"No quilts," she said.
"I heard that."
"Hear it again. Some-thing-diff-er-ent!!" She emphasized all the sounds in the words and all the sounds within the sounds and around the sounds.
"Something with fabric and thread, or do you want to plant tomatoes in the garden?" I asked. "Something with a hammer and nails or something with a broom and a dust pan?"
"Now you're being silly," she said. She pulled some part of herself out from between the cushions and looked at me.
"I never know," I said.
"You always know. Give me an idea," she said. She came out completely from her hiding place in the sofa.
"I'll get you some books," I said. She had a billion books, most of them quilting, but some had other crafts and ways to make a little change in one's life when one was too tired of quilting for a while.
"I've read all the books," she said.
"Again. You'll get an idea," I said.
She spent two days looking through books, sighing and groaning, yelping and yawning, all the time giving evidence to whomever happened to be in the room with her, which was usually me, that nothing interested her in any of the books, nothing at all. I brought her more books.
The last book I brought her had just come in the mail several days before. She had put it aside as she had no interest in a quilting book that also had crafts and how-to-do-this or how-to-dothat."
"I'm not interested in doing any of this," she said. But then, as she was about to throw the book across the room onto the pile of books she had already looked through and discarded as not being very useful to a person who wanted a change in her life that meant something to her, she turned a page. Now, that book, which she had thought would be a great book on quilting had much more. That book also was a book on "projects" she could make using fabric and thread. Projects other than quilts. Now, the word project is a fascinating one, for it denoted all kinds of things to do to keep one busy, and whether the "project" turned out successfully or not, pretty or not, useful or not, none of that made any difference. A project was something to do while waiting for another project to come along, a project which might be and should be a quilting project, but in the meantime, it might just be something else to do. Projects were like that, whatever "that" was.
She looked through the book and frowned and kept looking and frowned again. Finally, she smiled. "Cats," she said. I'll make a cat."
"What?" I said. I am prone to say "What" on many different occasions in many different ways. It could be an exclamation or a word of shock or a word of confusion. In this case it was a word of surprise infused with happy exaltation. Whatever the idea of cats was for her at that moment, it meant that she had chosen a path toward salvation, a path that meant I could put away all the other books and that she would go upstairs into her sewing room, and I would have a chance to sweep out my mind and lie down somewhere and not worry about her forever forsaking quilting. .Not that I really expected that she would, but I didn't want to take any chances. There was already enough chaos in the world, and if a cat could help make peace of some kind, I was all for it.
"I'm going to make some cats and if they come out looking anything at all like cats, I will give them to all the grandchildren and then I will think about what my future will be A.C.
"Ay-Cee?" I asked. I shouldn't have.
"After cats," she said, and she ran off to her sewing room and started in doing whatever it was she would be doing.
She finished the first cat two days later. Then she finished another,. Then another. "What do you think?" she asked when she brought three cats down to the kitchen table and sat them in front of my dish of cereal.
"Nice cats," I said. "Do they want some cereal?"
"Maybe some milk," she said.
I looked at the cats. "They look like cat quilts," I said.
"They're pieced and stuffed, but they're not quilts," she said. "I used scraps."
'Then they're scrap cats, like calico cats," I said.
"No, they're patchwork cats," she said.
"Patched up cats?"
"Patchwork," she said
'Then they are cat quilts," I insisted.
"No. They're just a project in a book that has quilts. A cat project. I wasn't quilting. I stopped quilting."
"They look like cat quilts," I said.
"Eat your cereal," she said.
"I can give the cats some quilted milk," I said.
"There's no such thing as quilted milk."
"You can quilt milk," I said. "You quilted cats."
"I'm going upstairs," she said, and with that she took her three cats and started toward the stairs.
"What are you going to do now?" I asked.
"I'm going to make a few more cats."
"What about real quilts?" I asked.
"Cats," she said, and then she was at the stairs.
" I hope we have room for a lot of cats," I said.
"Meow," she said, and she was gone. Meow indeed!
Copyright 2007 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished ""Cats"
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