As some of you know, I spent the weekend over at some friends’ in Montreal. They inspired this absurd fable.
Basically, I slept in a room they usually use as a library. There aren’t any curtains on the window in that room so they had to craft makeshift ones so I could sleep. The way the room is arranged there was no other option to avoid direct sunlight in my face at 6 in the morning.
My friends teamed up to make it work which brought the following sentence out of Kirsa’s mouth: “Who would have thought making curtains strengthened couples?”
And then, it was too late to stop the story.
An Absurd Fable In Which Strands Of Fabric Rekindles Old Flames
Granny Kianga harangued Elijah and I into making new curtains for her house. It’s not that I didn’t want to help her but I do have a life outside of narrating hers. In the end, I grew so tired of being yelled at that I dropped all my plans and agreed to face the ordeal.
We needed to drive to town to buy the necessary items. Unfortunately, my car died on me when we came back from the French café last week. Apparently, one surviving burning bunny lodged itself in my exhaust shaft and blew it open. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if it reached the fuel tank. I yelled “Finances!” at it. It froze and died, but the damage was done.
Granny grabbed my cell phone and called Aunt Rowan. She asked her to ram Uncle Eliot’s belly and yell Granny’s name. A moment later, she was summoned back home. Still holding my cell phone. I expected my turn to come. After fifteen minutes waiting for my summoning, I started to walk home.
Granny welcomed me with: “It’s about time you get here! My curtains need fixing.”
I would have retorted. I really would have, but I knew I’d only get some implacable statement like “it’s good for your health”, “it shapes character” or “take advantage of it while you still can.” As it turned out, I did retort and got “I forgot” as an answer. I knew she didn’t but that woman likes her unpredictability too much to spurt out a pre-digested statements.
Peeved, I did what any other woman would do: I told her to stuff it. She listened to me, literally. She gave her curtains to a cousin to use as compost bags. Instead of my usual delivery for my garden, I got compost-stuffed old flowery curtains. I have to give Granny credit for her sense of humor.
Here we were, one week later, and I had given up on the idea of convincing Granny Kianga to buy herself ready-to-hang curtains.
“It’s not about the curtains. It’s about the journey.” She affirmed.
Folded on the back seat of Elijah’s car, my knees aching from being forced under my chin for the 30 minutes drive, “journey” hardly seemed appropriate. Try “ordeal”. Why the hell wouldn’t Granny let me borrow the car instead of having the owner drive us?
Elijah was one of the village mechanic so, of course, he had a car that worked. He was still waiting for some pieces to fix mine since the blast had taken more than the exhaust shaft. Even with the fog of materialistic jealousy clouding my judgment, I must say he’s a nice man. All long muscles, smiles and peaceful demeanor, he made a hunk of a gown-up. Granny didn’t need to yell at him to get him to comply with her demands.
We were on the way back home. Shopping for the appropriate fabric was anything but fun. Granny kept pointing at rolls of fabrics until both Elijah’s and my arms were full. Then, we spread them on the counter, compared them with color samples from her walls, and mix-and-matched them into the perfect bundle before we had them cut. They were now safely folded by my side while Granny chatted up Elijah on the front seat. I couldn’t care less about their conversation. I just wanted this to be over.
I dropped the bundle of fabric on Granny Kianga’s kitchen table. I always liked her place; great view, nice natural lighting, comforting connection with the beauty of the wilderness nearby… Today, all those characteristics I loved added up to one thing I hated: windows. Her house had so many I would be here all day.
Much to my surprise, Elijah’s curtain-making efficiency rivaled mine which pleased me to no end. I sped up the process a lot.
We got right into it, sharing memories of times gone by as we went. We laid out the first piece of fabric, carefully smoothing all the folds. I read out the dimensions we took before buying everything. He measured and marked the cutting lines. We scissored our way through the whole batch in record time.
“I’m going to make some lemonade. It’ll leave you some time alone.” Granny ominously said as we folded and pinned the edges of large rectangles of fabric. I didn’t put much into it. She wobbled to the kitchen, beating the floor with her crooked cane as she went.
Elijah and I made quite a team. At first, I folded and he pinned which took him half of forever. His large fingers did deal well with pins. I suggested we change place and he sighed in relief.
“Yeah. I think I’ll do better with the folding part.” His voice was deep and rumbly. Nothing like the high-pitch speech I remembered from elementary school.
He folded fast and precisely, and we fell into our stride.
I ironed the freshly folded edges while he helped holding them down. By that time, Granny was back with our drink. I sipped the blissful beverage which efficiently chased away the hot flashes I got from the iron. Or was I really getting them from that…
What the heck was happening to me? It was hot outside but not that hot? My whole skin tingled. A whiff of perfumed air answered my questions; Granny was burning ylang-ylang essential oil. I eyed her conspicuously. She smiled as if she didn’t know an aphrodisiac was working its way through my system. Elijah was completely oblivious of the whole scheme.
When she headed back to the kitchen, I forced her to accept my help.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I whispered angrily.
“What the stupid winged baby with hearts and arrows can’t.”
“You want to hook me up with Elijah?” I stopped myself from adding “What’s wrong with you?” That would just put me in more trouble.
“That’s nuts. We don’t have a thing in common. We haven’t hung out since we were toddler.”
“There was love then and there is now.”
“He stole my Tonka!”
“Well! How else should a 3 years old express his love, huh? Get back in there.”
I grunted and headed back to the living room where Elijah was aligning our first curtain with the sewing machine. Granny could order about and scare us into obeying but she couldn’t force me to end up with Elijah.
I sewed silently, my legs firmly pressed together, my mind fighting against the aphrodisiac fumes, and my breath as limited as possible. Elijah helped keeping the large strands of fabric straight and talked about nothing and everything.
I rather enjoyed his presence and his help. Despite as masculine as they come, he didn’t mind spending the afternoon doing womanly thing. Really refreshing around here. Plus, he was good at it.
“You’re a good assistant, you know that?” I complimented.
“Thanks. Maybe later you’ll help me fix your car.” He winked in response.
Granny peeked through the kitchen door and chuckled. I swore I could have choked her.
Instead, I started putting up the curtains with Elijah. He stood on a chair to reach the necessary height to place the pole. As I handed him the fabric our fingers touched, sending a jolts through our bodies. We both let go of the pole which hit me on the head before making its way to the ground, trailing fabric behind it.
Half stunned, trapped in a polka-dotted cage, fury overtook me completely. I stomped and muttered in rage, flailing my arms about in an attempt to free myself. That was it. I was going to move out of the village and find someone else’s life to talk about. This day was my own personal hell, Granny-brewed. Getting more and more trapped within the strand of fabric, my anger grew.
I finally emerged when Elijah pushed aside the curtain. I blushed with anger and heat, and I sure didn’t want to let Granny win. Yet, Elijah hands as he pulled the fabric off my shoulders sent a shiver down my spine.
Damned be my Machiavellian Granny! The aphrodisiac was strong but I was stronger.
Or so I thought.
When Elijah pressed his lips on mine, I lost control of my thoughts.
I was going to choke Granny.
I would choke her.
Though I have no morals today, I’ve still found the energy to wrestle up two of them.
First, never underestimate the value of teamwork. It is an important part of every relationship (friendly or otherwise) and implies trust and a certain chemistry. Mundane tasks are a good way to remember how good a team we can be with our loved ones.
Second, sometimes you just have to give in.