tagNon-EroticStitches in Time

Stitches in Time

byTara_Neale©

Whir...whir. The simple cotton gingham slipped through her fingers as the presser foot fed it out. A single row of white stitches ran along the other side. Like tiny soldiers they performed their duty, holding the piece of fabric together. Locked tightly in this war against time and decay.

Clackety...clack. Her mind slipped back. To another time and place. Her Nana sat upright like a centennial guarding a great fortress. Her foot upon the large wrought-iron peddle that ran from side-to-side of the wooden and metal sewing machine housing. She pushed the bar down and the wheels turned in time. The stitches lay in straight lines at her command.

Tap...tap. Her tiny hands tapped out the rhythm in time with Nana's foot. She was a big girl now. Helping out. The stitches appearing at her command to the rat-a-tat-tat of her little hand upon that great big wheel.

Whoosh...whoosh. The material slipped seamlessly through her fingers. Just as the final sands slipped from the top of the hour glass. Pooled at the bottom. Ready to be turned. To begin again. Another turn at the fabric of life...fragile though its stitches be.

She held up the tiny dress. It was so small. So impossibly small. Like the doll dresses that Nana had made for her at that ancient machine. But Nana was gone. Had been gone for over twenty years. A life time. An eternity...or so it seemed.

She picked up a pink bow and sewed it about the tiny hole where the neck would be. She fiddled with it for several impossibly long moments. It had to be perfect. It just had to be. Nothing else would do. Perfection.

"Good girl." The words echoed off the sides of her mind. Bounced for an eternity from neuron to neuron. How many times had she heard those words? Had many times had her Nana praised her for being her 'good little girl?' When she sat so still in church. When she sat her peas. Even when she just waited patiently for her to finish her doll's dress.

She placed the final stitch that would hold the bow in place. She knew that it would not last forever. Would not hold through all time. Nothing ever did. And no matter how good a girl you were, it was never enough. People came and they went. Things changed. Time moved on. Just like the wheels and gears that turned the peddle of Nana's old sewing machine.

The foot upon the peddle turned the wheel at the side. A belt connected it to another smaller wheel that turned a wheel upon the sewing machine. The needle went up and down. And with it the threads of time. They caught on other threads from the bobbin beneath. Stitches formed. Some so tight that they puckered the fabric. Others too loose to hold the pieces together. And some just perfect. Perfect for as long as they lasted anyway.

She found the tiny silk rose bud that she had bought just for this dress. She brought it to her nose. But of course there was no smell. It was silk. Not the sweet pale pink buds that opened so briefly each spring. There was no life in this flower. Not even for the briefest of moments.

Her fingers trembled as they began to stitch it in the center of the ribbon. A single tear fell. It stained the white and pink cheeks of the material. Another joined it. And another. The spot was growing. Spreading. Just like the cancer that had stolen Nana away.

A final stitch and she held the little dress up once more. "It's beautiful," his voice was rough as he placed his large hands on her shoulders. "Perfect." He knew just the right words to say. He always had. "May I?" he asked as he held out his hand.

Reluctantly she handed it over to him. She fought to release it. He had as much right as she did. It was as special to him as it was to her.

She watched as a huge tear trailed down his cheek. It dropped onto the material. Joined her own as the stain spread wider. "Perfect," he pronounced with finality.

"Just like her, just like you." He brushed a soft kiss to the top of her head. "We have to go. Everyone is waiting."

She shook her head. She wanted to fight it. Wanted to plug the time hole in that hour glass. Wanted to stop the sands of time itself. Too many stitches of life had been ripped out before their time. Nana. And now this.

No one should have to bury their baby girl. No mother should lose her child. No child should die. Before she even had a chance to live. Her 'good girl' that was gone before she even began. She took the tiny dress from her husband.

A few more tears spread the stain further. Were they hers? Or his? It did not matter as they held the little gingham dress that she had cut down and re-sewn to fit the tiny lifeless body of their only child. No bigger than a doll. But larger than life to the two of them.

She leaned on him as he opened the door. Their home was full of people. Family and friends. But none of them mattered as she turned back to look at that old sewing machine one more time. "Take care of my good girl, Nana," she whispered into the wheels of time. Stitches that would hold the fabric of time together...for a while anyway.

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byTara_Neale© 11 comments/ 7645 views/ 0 favorites

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