It came attached to a yard of yellow crush. It was an attachment, and she liked the fabric she had ordered, so she suspected nothing, and she opened the small bag that held the attachment. Inside was a small swatch of fabric, blue and soft and dazzling and subdued all at once. She took it into her hand and the touch of the fabric, the passionate hand of the fabric wormed its way into her heart. She fell in love with it immediately. But it was such a beautiful patch and yet such a small-sized piece. She thought how much more pleasing it would be, how wonderful it would be if she had more. She had to have more.
That's where I came in. "Honey," she called to me. "I have to find this fabric. I need more of it."
"Are you planning a new quilt?" I asked as I dutifully rushed to her side. "You have all those others to do yet, the ones you haven't finished and the ones you already have planned." That was my regular speech, give or take a few words, sometimes given with more emphasis, all said with the idea in my foolish head that she would pay some kind of attention to the man she had been married to for so long and who had been by her side from that moment the heavens opened up and a voice came down to tell her it was time for her to learn how to quilt. Again, she paid those words of mine no attention.
"Then?" It was another oft asked question said into a wind that blew sense aside.
"It's nice fabric," she said. See! No attention at all to my wise words.
"You have lots of nice fabric."
"This is special," she said.
"How did it get to be special and how did you get it then?" It was a very small piece of fabric and she was not known to buy small pieces of fabric. Once she had bought a fat eighth of a piece of fabric and then became very moody when she saw that a fat eighth was not very large. It was tiny in her mind. This piece of fabric she held now must have felt like a dandelion seed afloat in an autumn breeze.
"It was an attachment," she said.
"You're not supposed to open an attachment when you don't know who sent it," I said, the fear of a computer virus well known in our household.
"It came with the fabric I ordered."
"All the more reason to fear it," I said.
"Why?" she asked.
"I don't know why. But look at what it's already done to you. And me," I added.
"What's it done to me?" she asked. "And you?" she added.
"I know you. You want more of the fabric, and when you have a lot of it, because more means a lot to you, then you'll have too much to just put in a drawer or on a shelf, so you'll want to make a quilt, but that will mean more fabric and more of everything. "You have a virus," I said.
"I have no such thing," she said adamantly, but she touched her forehead to check for a temperature and stuck out her tongue to show me it was free of red spots or other signs of a virus.
"A quilt virus." I said. "That's how the fabric manufacturers attack you. They attach the fabric to another piece of fabric and when you get a hand on it, it crawls into your blood stream and up into your brain until before you know it you are looking at fabric catalogs to find the fabric listed, and then you order ten yards of it, and when that comes you open it up, and then there's another attachment with a microscopic piece of fabric inside that also worms its way into the quilting compartment of your brain, and then you want more of the new fabric." Whew!. I began to sweat. Maybe I had a virus.
"Nonsense," she said. "It's probably just a sample."
"A sample from a fabric dealer who knows how to hook you. You have to have your fabric fix. The sample is free to lure you, and then the tiny hook gets caught in your lips and the dealer sets the hook and reels you in."
"No one is fishing here," she said.
"They'll all blame you, not the drug dealer," I said. "They never go after the drug dealers, just the little people." I began to rave.
"Do you have any idea what you're talking about?" she asked calmly.
"I'm just telling it like it is," I said.
"You turn a swatch of cloth into some gangster movie," she said. "Let's get back to thinking about how much I'll need to order."
"That's the virus talking," I said.
"What virus?" We were back to square one.
"The virus that is making you think you need to send more money to the fabric shop so the people there can send some of the money on to the fabric manufacturer. Not only them but the post office and the truck drivers and the gas station owners and the people who make the packaging and everyone else who makes money off you."
"Then I'm helping the economy.," she said happily. "Then there won't be a recession or a depression and the everyone in the country will all thank me for buying the fabric."
"Nonsense," I said. "You have a virus and you need to get a shot for it or something. Maybe if you throw it away...."
"Throw it away? Did you say throw it away?"
"Put it in the trash, and then I'll empty the trash...I'll recycle it."
"Your talking computers and viruses and I'm talking about how quilting can help save the country, even improve the global economy."
"You really like that fabric?" I asked, weakened now, my head throbbing, my muscles aching.
"And you really want to order more?"
"I won't try to stop you," I said.
"I didn't think you would try," she said.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because you have a virus," she said.
"The love bug."
"Oh." I said. Oh!
Copyright 2001 by A.B. Silver
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