Tag Archives: Paris

A Stitch in Time

26 Feb

patchwork_quiltAll these years of wanting the same thing.

Because there we were, perched on a sagging cot that served as a makeshift sofa in the tiny flat he chose in the 18th arrondissement. Dusk-blue light tinted darker the denim I was sewing near the window, and a little bit of kitchen incandescence filtered around the shape of his profile to my right. Thus framed, my travel sewing kit needle guided thread through pocket and trim, back and forth, zig-zagging with the conversation around a quilt of previous patch jobs.

This darling pair of trousers, the long legs flopping over stumpy femurs bent beneath me, bore the sewing of our tailor in Utah and the stitchwork of our denim knight’s mother. We had all tried to hold together the edges of pockets he himself had tried to reseal with cut-outs of iron-on fabric patches.

I felt tremendously important as I sewed between all that shared handiwork. I knew our tailor would see my haphazard field repair and wonder who could be so erratic, and with dark blue thread on white cotton pocket, too. But the truth is, I had every intention of making a mark. And the sewing gave me a good place to fix my attention when I continued a point I’d made just a bit previously over a late lunch in the south of Pigalle.

“You know, I meant what I said. And I guess you know because I said it years ago. But I do still love you.”

A low level of gravely assent lumbered from his side of the cot.

“And I guess I am probably still quite obsessed with you. But I do keep it in check.”

Then I emitted one of my newly perfected pauses, to let someone else think and speak, instead of speaking for them to fill the gap. Pushed the pause out there, let it sit while I sewed.

There was some stretching and extension of long limbs, long so long I measured the distance from hip to knee when first we boarded the plane to Barcelona, and touching the bone at each joint, I held and said, “Do you realize that the length of your femur is the same as my entire torso?” Admittedly, I have a freakishly long torso, but I did want to point out how I sympathized with the discomfort that would be inevitable on the long flight from New York.

The limbs settled and seat shifted. “I do. And I feel the same way. And I would do just about anything for you.”

He said more and more, and I kept stitching. I’d sealed the gap that was setting coins free to roll down his skyscraper legs to the pavement below, and now my needle was going back and forth, worrying the thread against a worn connection that would break quite soon, too. This was preventative maintenance, and I made my future-seeing strokes quite evident against the white cotton.

This is where I thought of you first. This is where I put extra care in attendance to our future.

I wouldn’t touch the subject again other than in teasing, until some six days later we were stood in customs at JFK and I tucked a hand down the edge of the reinforced pocket and turned up the inner edge to show him the darning. “See, I did a little bit extra, too, so it won’t tear again right away.”

Then lifted my gaze and artificially adhered it to some far off bit of intrigue, and felt how still he was beside me.

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