You arrive at my house on a windswept, thundery night. Over the sound of the rain, you can hear the hounds barking at your arrival. You wrestle your way through the dark garden, the branches of trees and shrubs seeming to claw at you in the wind. Bracing against the icy rain, you head for the door, lit with a warm yellow light on this pitch black night. As you raise your hand to knock on the door, I fling it open.
“You’re here,” I say, you can hear the tension in my voice. “I wasn’t sure if… Please, come in”. I step aside to allow you to pass before I close the door behind you. You hear the lock click into place as you make your way to the lounge. I take your coat and hang it up with shaking hands. You are ready to ask me what all this is about and you open your mouth to speak but I shake my head.
Swishing my long skirts as I pass you, I head to the drinks cabinet and pour you a small brandy. I hand it to you, pressing it against your palm to ensure you take the drink. You shake your head, and place the glass on the bench before grasping me by the shoulders. You stare into my face, searching for answers to this terrible mystery.
“What is it?” you ask, your voice trembling with anxiety.
I look away and shake my head “It’s too dreadful” I whisper. Tears begin to spill down my cheeks as I wrestle myself from your grasp. I turn to the window, my attention caught by the rain outside. You place a gentle hand on my shoulder. “Please” you say, softly, “it can’t possibly be that bad”.
“Get your glass,” I say, still facing the window, “You’ll… you’ll need a drink”.
Once I am sure you are ready and waiting for all this to be brought into the open, I take a deep breath and say in a trembling voice “I.. I needed you to know. I needed you to hear it from me and not from some gossip in the street…”. Lightening flashes outside, lighting the room in stark brightness for a second. You wait in silence. I turn to you, and look you square in the eye. Thunder rolls in the wild, broken night and I say “I didn’t press my hem before sewing”.
Your brandy glass slips to the floor, shattering on impact. You take some panicked steps away from me, shaking your head and clawing the air to keep me at a distance. Before your very eyes I have become a monster.
I did plan to press my hem. Honestly. I did. I even started pressing it. Having faffed about with that for a good hour or so and having made it almost exactly nowhere in that time I thought to myself “Self, fuck this”. I agreed with myself and ditched the pressing entirely. You know what’s short? Life. Life is pretty short. I have plans this week, I have ukulele group and art class and Ross Noble tickets and all sorts of fun stuff that isn’t standing over an ironing board with fogged up glasses. I did double sew it though, so be a bit impressed please.
Instead of a perfectly measured, perfectly pressed hem I have what can only be described as “a long stretch of wonky”. Which is actually very fine as there’s such a lot of hem which will have such a lot of gathering. It’ll also be almost at ground level, so it’d have to be a very short person with a very good eye to pick the dodgyness of the sewing there. To avoid this, I shall now only associate with tall people, and short people who wear thick glasses.
Progress on the skirt was slowed considerably by the hot weather, the machine being a little bitch about everything and limited access to the sewing space. I’ve wrangled the machine back into order by poking around the innards with a screwdriver and swearing at it a lot. Runs like a dream now, who knew? Now that the purple is hemmed, it’s time to join the layers. This may or may not involve more swearing. Also I’m not entirely sure I own enough pins.
Quick aside. In 1992 my English teacher said “Don’t write any fiction in the second person, it never really works”. I can now see he had a point.