putting the blank into blanket
Was the subject line to an e-mail I wrote to American K1 (there are now two American Ks – it’s a long story – who knows, one day it may feature here). It seemed too good, too apt, a subject line to restrict to just one person.
We have a blanket that TA’s mother made for us when we got married. It is made out of bronze and grey wool crocheted in the style – in my family at least – known as a Granny blanket. It is on our bed at the moment to make up for the fact that the nights are chill but we have yet to bring out the winter-weight doona.
My Granny used to crochet blankets with recycled wool, one stripe after another in shell stitch. Crocheting together when I was small, she once asked me if I couldn’t crochet like she did because I was “cack handed”.
“No, Granny, you use a different stitch to the ones I’ve been taught. I can crochet double and treble stitch, but I’ve not learnt shell stitch yet.”
I can do many things even though I am, indeed, cack handed. But I can’t make decisions for TA – that’s part of how we got here in the first place. I can’t protect myself from the storms without scuttling the boat and turning my back on the sea – something I cannot bring myself to do. And so I hold on to the rigging – bailing where necessary, trying not to throw up – and feel…very little. The panic passed a long time ago; the dread, well, I trust myself enough to think that whatever life throws at me, I’ll survive in my own cack-handed way. So I feel blank as I watch the storm front close in and wait for the lightening to strike the mast.
And a secret corner of my consciousness begins to prepare the lifeboat – much like as six-year-old E and I hid running-away supplies under her bed. You can’t get very far with old cheese and Christmas mincemeat (especially if the jars have leaked) and I wonder how far I will get with my meagre emergency supplies.
If you see me paddling on the high seas please send up a flare and send out an SOS for me. Hell, if you see TA clinging to a broken plank, please pull him on to your deck and administer a reviving dose of brandy.
Please: stop me if I'm boring you.