20 January 2000
Ma's been sick. Pneumonia. But she's on the mend now. I had to spend
four nights-- and most of the days, too-- at her house. I sat and
watched TV and videos while I listened. I didn't get much sleep. You
can't when you're "on the listen."
Her illness didn't seem serious at first. At first, she just said
she was tired. That was Friday night. I picked up supper; we ate.
Then we watched some TV. She dozed on the sofa all
evening. I woke her up when I was ready to leave, and she went to
bed. But she told me to call her Saturday because she wanted me to
take her shopping.
When I called, she answered the phone. I asked if she still wanted to
go shopping. She said she did, so I told her I'd be over in about an
hour. But, when I went to pick her up, she didn't answer the door. I
let myself in and found she was still in bed and she didn't
even remember telling me she wanted to go shopping. I asked her if
anything was wrong, but she said no, she was just tired.
While I sat, I learned to knit. Ma taught me the rudiments years ago,
but I was never good at it. In fact, I had an odd way of doing it
that nobody could explain. The pieces I knitted always looked a bit
odd--neatly done, but odd. Because of that I never knit more rows than
it took me to get discouraged. Not many.
But I had a chance to watch Ma do a quick sweater vest for Lauren
just before Christmas. Watching her, I decided that I'd give knitting
another try. So, last week, before she got sick, I had Ma demonstrate
the basics again. Casting on stitches, knit, purl. I didn't get
around to trying it though until Ma got sick. Then, because I didn't
have anything to do but listen for Ma and watch TV and worry, I
started knitting. Ma's knitting bag was in the living room and I
grabbed a small ball of yarn and the needles she'd been using and
had at it.
I practiced. I used a small ball of a dark persimmony color. I'd knit
all evening, varying the stitches, trying
different combinations until I ran out of yarn. Then I'd have a look
at what I'd done. I'd note the mistakes, the unevennesses. Then I'd
rip it all out and start again. I thought of Penelope.
By the third night I'd got pretty good, so I changed yarn-- a large
ball of heathery blue-- and made
myself a scarf. When I had knitted a sufficient length, I contemplated
my effort. I thought the stitches were satisfyingly even, and I had
managed a nice bit of seed stitch at each end which lent an interesting
texture. I was pleased-- even though the scarf had a tendency to
curl itself into a tube.
But I couldn't finish it. I didn't remember how to cast off. And Ma
wasn't feeling too good...
That was the longest night. I wondered if I'd ever get the scarf
finished... or if my scarf would end up in the knitting bag, still on
the needle, uncompleted.
Copyright © 2000 New Moon