It’s an unusual and novel experience for me. As I pretend to sew a nightgown for my daughter, Nonna assists. I have never had anyone help me sew. I have never been the centre of attention whilst engaged in such a mundane activity. It is a little like reading a book with someone else there poised to turn the pages for you. It is thoroughly disconcerting. Her devotion to the nightgown is so touching which heightens my guilt.
I have become an accomplished liar. To Nonna, I explain it is for her grand-daughter. To her grand-daughter I explain that it is for her big sister. To her big sister I explain the subterfuge, all in an attempt to be able to sew whilst a wide spectrum of persons circulate through the house at varying times of the day, and sometimes night.
She smooths the fabric, pats the pattern tissue and irons everything that isn’t nailed to the table, several times. We engage in a cyclical conversation:-
“Wot you do?”
“I’m sewing a nightgown for her.”
“When did you cut it out?”
“Have you done the gathers yet?”
I am quite certain that I shall make some serious errors in the project as it is so difficult to concentrate whilst drowning in so much unfamiliar assistance.
I am about ready to sew my fingers together when Nonna makes an announcement.
“I think I shall go for a walk, it might elp me to wake up a little.”
“What a superb idea!” I reply with far too much exaggerated enthusiasm.
Oh for a moment or two to make some progress.
As her steps leave the room I knuckle down and put the sewing machine over the speed limit in order to finish in time for the school run. I beam in my solitude, race seams, tuck and tie. I may just manage to task completion today! What a boon. As the teeny tiny light bulb on the machine flickers with it’s intermittent fault, it forces my blink mode to function.
One leg shorter than the other.
I toss the nightgown and dash to the front door scattering pins in flight. Which way did she go? I skip up the road in my fluff muffs on the off chance that she headed for the shops. At the cross roads there is no sign of her in any direction. I skuttle back the other way in soggy muffs that attract dried leaves. At the main road there is no sign of her in either direction. I scoot back to the house, coatless, flustered and Nonnaless.
I dither in the hall. 40 minutes until pick-up. 20 minutes drive to school. Maybe I could drive around for 20 minutes beforehand and hope that we bump into each other, although not literally.
This is ridiculous. She is a perfectly healthy, mature adult. She doesn’t need a nanny running around ninniless, making mountains out of molehills. There again, she is an elderly woman, who has never walked out of this house alone in all the 10 years that she has visited.
I hop in the hall, a common recent activity that I have acquired. Maybe I should phone him, although he never picks up? If he does pick up he will only be able to donate half a brain cell to the conversation. Then I shall have to ask him to sit down, which will be quite shocking at the other end of the telephone line. He will immediately be on notice that disaster has struck. Maybe I should email him instead, whereupon he will devote at least five brain cells to my message.
I dither over the phraseology:- “dearest one, I just wanted to let you know that I somewhat carelessly managed to mislay your mother today. She has been lost for approximately one and a half French Seams and 6 inches of lace.
Which would you prefer?
A] come home and search for your mother
B] collect your children so that I can continue the hunt for your mother
C] take the afternoon off so that you can visit your lawyer and file divorce papers.
Yours truly and with most sincere apologies,
Thickie, Thickie, Dumb Dumb, Snr.”
I hear the toilet flush and see Nonna appear in the hall like magic, pick up her coat and bag ready for her walk, examine them, put them down again and glance in my direction, “oh dere you are? Ave you been for a walk? Dat’s nice. Exercise helps clear dah mind. Why are you so……dirty?” We look at the leaf covered, bedraggled fluff muffs together in silence. “Well…….I’ll leave you to your sewing. I tink I’ll go and ave a little rest.”
I hit ‘delete, do not send, do not save.’
4 hours ago