A quilt is not a quilt because someone has sewn many pieces and parts of fabric together to make something whole. A quilt is a quilt when stitching runs throughout and all over multiple layers of fabric and creates a design in thread that holds the top, batting and backing layers together. To quilt a quilt by hand is to create a thing for the sheer joy of doing it.
The two sit and share a space, she on the couch, feet firmly planted upon the floor, a large swath of pieced fabric across her lap, quilting an entire blanket by hand, he in a lazy-boy, tapping his toes to the tune he hums, reading a book through the bottom portion of the glasses resting atop his nose. She sighs and stretches a small, barely noticeable stretch of the hand. “How ‘bout some scups,” he states, not asking, more telling that he’ll get up to put a pot on. She smiles, eyes never leaving the work at hand. He winks and makes a click out of the side of his mouth, “Looking good there, Honey.” “Ah, why thank you, Michael.”
He rocks himself from the chair, onto his feet in one fluid motion, stands for a moment and giggles with a wide grin, “Alright.” At this point, she looks up from her quilt, “You want some help?” Making his way past her on the couch, he reaches out a hand, “Why sure.” Full of delighted chuckles, the two walk into the kitchen together as he begins to whistle a new tune through his teeth. She hums along.
Standing side-by-side, she at the counter in front of the coffee pot, he at the sink, they assist each other in filling the coffee-maker with water and grounds. They kiss and remain standing, hand on hand upon the counter, awaiting the finishing gurgle of the pot. She rests her head on his shoulder. He gently whistles another tune.
Backed and supported by a celestial, starry-night print in a deep, sapphire blue that fades in and out to create strong, straight cobalt lines that run its entire length, the quilt will survive life itself.
“Where do you think we ought to travel to next?” he asks, half-joking, undoubtedly, since the two have their lives planned out so far ahead of them that it’s as if they’re living fiction. “The Grand Canyon, of course,” she smiles, longing for a view that most people can only dream of. “Well, alright,” he agrees as they sit together under the roll-out awning of their fifth wheel. With a deep inhalation, she admires the view from where she sits now, looks upon the face of her companion and promises herself to never forget this moment. “It’s on the way to Colorado,” he remarks; “How long should we stay? Should we stop by one other place beforehand?” Looking back toward the setting sun, she considers their options, “Hmm. Maybe. Do we know where we’ll stay in Colorado?” “Oh, yes, that is easy,” he informs.
Silently, they sit. “Hey, is that quilt gonna be finished in time?” “Oh, yes. It’s been no problem. I think it’ll be done early. I hope she likes it.” “Don’t be silly. She’s gonna love it. She’ll love anything … if it’s made by you.”
A kettle begins to scream inside the motorhome. He rises from his fold-up camping chair, “Some honey for my Honey?” With lifted eyebrows, he grins a cheesy grin. “Oh, yes, please,” she responds in flirtatious excitement. “I’ll be right back then. Don’t you go anywhere,” he winks and starts up a whistled tune. She hums softly along, smiling silently, tickled to near death at his cuteness. He can see her through the screen door from the tiny counter in the house. Almost in pain, he physically feels the love in his heart. Palm to chest, he whispers a small prayer of thanks for the woman sitting just outside, the woman with whom he shares every day of this great life.
Soft, sharing the aqua and violet colors of the color-blocked squares, the white lambs leap and soar through the pastel sky colored in the same scheme of the blanket as a whole.
Grief cannot be imagined. Loss cannot be contrived. Darkness cannot be seen.
When the company of one, singularly specific, lifetime love no longer embodies a physical form, the pain, the emptiness, the sorrow affects the other, seemingly left behind in the world of the living, more than anyone else in times of crises, times of suffering. For the inexperienced, questions about the value of that unknowable vulnerability when the pain of loss comes, the worth of sharing so deeply with someone you will inevitably be parted from, the hopelessness of living a life you no longer want to live, rise and bubble forth in a desperate attempt to never feel pain, never feel grief, never feel alone.
She lives on, however, presumably in pain, presumably in grief, presumably feeling alone. Each day folding out, despite whether or not she wants it to. Time continuing on, with or without her. A life like hers, filled with a love like hers, defines an existence unlike any other. True Love, it seems, is hard to come by, but she awakes within us all the reality that no matter how improbable, the kind of love that exists only in fiction is, in fact, possible. She inspires within us all an aspiration toward a love so real that the cost of its inevitable loss makes the journey well worth it.
For Aunt Nina, with love.