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THREADING THE NEEDLE
General Mainstream Fiction, Mainstream
Tessa Woodruff wants to restore an old quilt for her now alienated childhood friend, Madelyn, but has just learned it might cost hundreds of dollars to do so.
We never go out anymore; restaurant meals aren’t in the budget. That’s fine but I don’t understand why that has to mean the end of our Saturday “date nights”. There are all kinds of free concerts and lectures held at the library and the community center, but Lee isn’t interested. He says he’s too tired to go out. And to all appearances, it’s true. He usually goes to bed, and to sleep, right after dinner.
We haven’t made love in a month. And I miss it. I miss the passion, the playfulness, the touch of his hands. Most of all, I miss the intimacy of lying next to him afterward, the quiet talk and lingering looks. I need that. I think he does too, now more than ever.
I’ve tried to talk to Lee about it, but my comments were less than well received. The conversation, if you could call it that, ended with Lee storming out to the barn and staying there until I gave up on him and went to bed alone.
It doesn’t make sense to me. We’d been making love, passionately and enthusiastically, for thirty-four years. We’d never had problem doing it. So what was so wrong with talking about it? Are all men like this?
Virginia was widowed, but she’d been married, happily from all reports, for fifty-one years. Had she ever encountered this problem?
“Yes, dear?” She looked at me with bright, birdlike interest, her big blue eyes made bigger by the magnification of thick eyeglasses.
“I was wondering if you’d…,” I started to speak. Reconsidered. Blushed. “I was wondering if you’d mind ordering the fabric for me. I wouldn’t know what to buy and, anyway, I don’t have an internet connection.”
“No problem. We can do it right now. You want to give me a credit card?”
I took a mental inventory of my wallet, trying to remember if I had any cards that weren’t already maxed out. “Would a check be okay?”
“Sure. I can just use my card and you can pay me back. I’m glad you’re going with the antique fabric. It’s a special quilt, worth the investment. Your friend will love it.”
“I hope so.”
“Quilting isn’t a cheap hobby but,” the old woman said with a wink, “keeps you out of trouble. If I didn’t spend my money on fabric, I’d just waste it on beer and cigarettes.”
I laughed. “Somehow I don’t believe that, Virginia. Evelyn already told me that you’re a teetotaler.”
“She did?” Virginia clucked her tongue in mock regret. “Well, don’t go telling anybody else. There’ve been some rumors going around town about me having a mysterious and wicked past. I know because I’m the one who’s been spreading them. I like the idea of having a reputation. Makes me seem more interesting.”