"It's no use," my Darling Wife said.
"What's no use?" I asked.
"I'm at a standstill," she said.
"You seem to be moving around fine," I said. She had been running up and down the stairs every few moments for the past half hour, taking the last boxes of her quilting supplies from where the movers had left them in the back of the garage six weeks before up to her sewing room. Somehow, she had overlooked them during the first weeks of unpacking. I had found them this morning when I began breaking down the last of what we thought were empty boxes to be recycled.
"There's a lot that needs to be done upstairs," she said.
"In your sewing room?"
"While I was putting away the lost boxes which I didn't know were lost into the back closet, I took everything else in the closet out to look for a piece of fabric I thought I had lost, and then I had to put everything back."
"Did you find the fabric?" I asked.
"I found it right away."
"Before you took everything out of the drawers and off the shelves and from the boxes in the closet?"
"I said right away. First thing."
"But you still took everything out?"
"I needed to take everything out to see if I remembered where everything was."
"Did you remember where everything was?"
"This time I did."
"There were other times when you didn't?" I asked.
"But you're not quilting," I pointed out.
"I told you I was at a standstill," she said, obviously dismayed that I hadn't heard her or, if I had, that I hadn't remembered what she had just told me. Both of those things were happening too often in the new house as we moved into different rooms as we talked and our conversations were left behind where we had been. We were becoming more and more distracted from doing what we thought we were doing by doing something else. Friends tell us that happens a lot moving into a new house.
"Yes, you said you were at a standstill and that it was no use," I added. "I remembered what you said. I'm just not sure what you meant. You seem to be moving around fine."
"This new house is bigger and it takes more moving to go from one place to another," she said.
"So it's the fault of the new house?" I asked.
"Fault? I didn't say anything about fault." She headed to the stairs again.
"You were complaining about being stood up," I said.
"I didn't say stood, I said stand. Standstill."
"Go on," I said.
"I'm not quilting," she said, and she began up the stairs.
"Oh," I said.
"Oh? Is that all you can say? I haven't quilted for two weeks and that's all you have to tell me."
"You can quilt any time you want," I said, reminding her that we were now moved into our new house and all her sewing rooms were finished and her fabric was stacked and all her machines were plugged in.
"No, I can't," she said. She sat herself down halfway up the stairs.
"Are you coming or going?" I asked as she slumped in place. She put her hands on her knees and hung her legs lazily over two steps below her.
"The house is distracting me," she said.
"The house is stopping you from quilting?" I asked.
"The back yard keeps calling me," she added.
"And the beach," I said. "Don't forget the beach." Our new house is ten minutes from the beach, and every afternoon we go to the beach to look at the ocean, walk along the water's edge, and wave at the waves. She sees quilt designs in the water and on the sand and at the cliffs and bluffs above the beach.
"The beach makes me want to quilt," she said.
"That's good," I said.
"That's too good, but I don't want to leave the beach and I don't want to be away from my quilting and I have to finish deciding what I want to quilt next but I have to finish the Australian quilt first, but looking at it makes me think about sitting out back and watching the sparrows build little mud houses under the eaves of our neighbor's house."
"And the weather makes you want to be outside and not cooped up in your sewing room," I reminded her.
"It's not a coop. I have the window open all the time and a nice sea breeze makes it all the way up to the house and comes in through the window."
"And the breeze keeps you from quilting?"
"If I were quilting, as I should be, the breeze would be helpful and give me hints about the quilting and fabric and thread," she said.
"I didn't know there was a quilting breeze?" I said. In our old house where the air was always dirty and full of the type of allergens that would cause a rock to sneeze, we never had the windows open. So we didn't know much about breezes inside the old house. Our new house had ocean breezes and we kept the windows open.
"A quilting breeze must have come to welcome us to the neighborhood," she said.
"But you're still not quilting." I repeated.
"I want to quilt. I planned to quilt, but the time just slips on by me."
"You never talked like that before," I said. "The time slips on by...?"
"Everything's different now," she said.
"But your quilting desire will come back?" I asked. I hoped.
"I have the desire now. I have a lot of desire. I have enough desire for a hundred quilts."
"So why don't you go upstairs right this minute and quilt?"
"I can't. I'm at a standstill."
"Do you want to go to the beach instead?"
"The beach sounds good."
"But only for a little while. You have to get back to your quilting," I admonished.
"Maybe I'll come back inspired to do a pelican quilt," she said. She stood up, smiled, and came down the stairs.
"Pelicans need quilts, too" I said.
She gave me her "Don't make fun of a quilter" look, and then we went to the beach.
Copyright 2001 by A.B. Silver
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