Unraveled

The scribe took possession of his grandmother’s knitting. Needles, yarn, and projects in progress. All impeccably, impossibly ordered in the bag. Brightly colored balls tightly wound and thin off-white in ovals ready to be wound, tags keeping it from chaos.

At the end of summer, the phone announced it was Grandma. The scribe was unreasonably annoyed. Couldn’t she predict the good times to call? He was deep in the flow his story, but the moment was lost now and he answered with an eyeroll.

“Time to pick out the colors for your Christmas sweater! It’s tradition!” She sang.

“Green and blue.”

“But sweetie, you always pick green and blue.”

“It’s tradition.”

She would find some nice greens and blues for him then, something different. A minute later he was back to work, trying to drop back into the rhythm. His hero visited the loving but annoying aunt after finally accepting the quest he had been given.

He pulled the green and blue never-to-be sweater out of the bag. Knitting needles pierced through the chest, waiting to move on. His fingers unconsciously dug into the shoulders, breaking the uniform knit, stretching out two holes.

The hero’s estranged mother calls him in the middle of his moral crisis. His aunt died. But there are things to do, things more important than his personal tragedy and the forced repetitive conversations with the grieving. But yes, Mother, he’ll be at the funeral but he won’t stay.

Our hero dives into his work even as the memories of his aunt, of her kindness, of his annoyance, of his teenage rejection, of her acceptance anyway, of the summers and the Christmases and the school plays she never missed, of his dreams she never doubted, all threaten to pull him away from the real, true work he has to do. Our hero digs in. Our hero pushes away. Our hero compartmentalizes. Our hero will save the day.

He turns the piece around. Her bag tips forward, and the green yarn ball tied to his Christmas sweater rolls out and unravels across his wooden floor. His hand reaches for it, grabs the attached string and pulls it toward him to reel it back in. His face morphs into horror. The green slides farther along the floor, painting his impeccably, impossibly clean studio.

Leaning against the back wall of the sanctuary, a frown crosses our hero’s face. Every speaker just misses the mark of what his aunt was, who she was. It’s funny and sad but nothing quite stitches back together his loss. He wants to gorge himself on the memory of her. But he slips out before it is over. Work waits. The world waits.

The yarn rolls out the door and down the stairs. He hears it bounce down, fail to make the turn, hit the wall, and finally rest. The green line between them quivering. The thin green line washes out under his tears.

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