Supernatural Fiction posted November 21, 2010

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Looking back at what life gave ...

The Patchwork Quilt

by Realist101

The bed was empty. Only my sleepy cat and the old, faded quilt lie faithfully on the foot of it. The old cover is still folded neatly, as it has been for the last few months and its' colors, even though no longer vibrant, fill the small bedroom with the particular glow that only peach and mauve can make.

My mother made it for me as a wedding present and the memory of her voice lingers in my mind, asking me if I liked it.

"Are the colors right? Does it fit the bed? It's not too small, is it?"

"No, it will fit fine! It's just perfect. And you did it all by hand too! Thank you, Mom." I give her a bear hug. The quilt is something I wanted so badly. Something she made herself, not bought. We both have tears in our eyes as our hearts swell with love for each other. This cherished memory is sharp and clear, still, after all the living years.

I want to go back there, but I am in limbo. Waiting for what, I am not certain. But waiting, reflecting ... and wishing.

There are clothes on the old line and my favorite chair sits beneath it, almost exactly where I used to sit and read, whilst the cats would lounge nearby, waiting for a bowl of milk. A breeze brings the fresh air of spring through the window, and I breathe deep it's delicious scent.

I see my beloved calico cat, still taking a nap on the bed, curled tightly next to my old pillow, the one that was so soft and warm; and I wonder if she misses me as much as I miss her. She opens one eye as I stand in the bedroom door. I want to caress her silky hair. I want to tell her how beautiful she still is. I remember how little she had been the day I found her. How I made excuses for keeping her, my husband not wanting another mouth to feed and I smile at the recollection of how I won him over. Or should I say, how the kitten had won him over ... .

"Look, isn't she a cutie? Look at her bright green eyes. Not that many cats have pure green eyes anymore."

"Just take her to the pound, she'll just have kittens and we don't need any more cats." He resumed watching the news, unaware that Molly, already named such by our son, was climbing up the back of the easy-chair behind his head.

"And she likes you too." I had laughed, the little ball of fur finally picking her way up the back of the chair and onto his shoulder. Her purr is loud for such a tiny, delicate creature.

"Well, howdy doody!" The man of the house sounds suddenly like a little kid as he talks to the kitten he does not want to keep. I know Molly and I have won the battle. I remember how I smiled inside as I returned to cooking dinner, content in knowing that in a few minutes, the little cat would be curled up, sound asleep in my husband's lap.

I'm not sure if I can cry anymore, but I feel like I am, because I sense the familiar pain that accompanies tears. I shake this memory away and go into the hall toward the other side of the house. Now, so quiet, so lonely without my family all there, so lonely because I know I can't stay here anymore ... .

There's the soft, faint tinkling from the porcelain wind chime, as I peer out across the untrimmed yard, out where life goes on; out where the songbirds refuse to be sad along with me and where the sky is still as blue as a robin's egg. Outside, where the clouds are made of marshmallow pies and the flowers keep on blooming. No, the world hasn't stopped at all, it only just feels that way to me.

It seems too, as the soft breezes play with the lace curtains and the newborn lambs play in the pasture, so full of life and joy, that somehow I should have been able to save myself.

I go back into the kitchen, where the sunshine glints softly across the pale yellow walls and I stand next to my brother as he reads the morning paper. He stops for a second ... does he know that I am near? I reach to touch his face and to tell him I'm okay. He takes his reading glasses off and wipes them with the tail of his tattered shirt as a tear slides down his cheek. His kind face suddenly so sad. He is all alone now. My son and husband have gone on to new lives. It's my brother who has missed me the most. It's Mark who stays and keeps my memory alive. And I am deeply grateful.

Thoughts of chances missed, opportunities lost and wasted time are of no use to me now. I am in a place where there is but one last chance. One last decision to make. But I am not ready. The world is a beautiful place and I do not want to leave it completely ... not yet. I want one more day, one more moonlit night. One more Thanksgiving dinner and one more "I love you". I want my life back. But I gave it up each time I put off taking care of myself, each time I refused to see a doctor.

Will the powers that be forgive me my trespasses? Will I be able to cross that dark river to see the other side? Do I want to? I don't know for sure. For now, I want to snuggle in my old patchwork quilt with Molly and dream of seasons in the sun.

This Sentence Starts The Story contest entry


Not much dialogue, this is a study in thought and memories. Thank you for reading and to for the loan of the beautiful picture. Approximately 990 words. I hope you enjoy this. ")
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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