she had the couch reupholstered last year. the one right by the front door, in a pearly shade of white. clean, like a sno-cone before the grape juice seeps into the cracks.
but no one really comes to sit there anymore, except her husband, when he needs to see the television. or stretch his legs. except the woman who lives next door, with a son not much younger than hers, in his fifties.
but in early evening, when the day's baking is done, when her grandson has gone home for the night and her husband's head is drooped down in slumber on the recliner, dolores sits there. under the lamplight around seven thirty. bathed and in her nightgown, with a heavier scent of powder than she wears for the daytime.
and she embroiders. tea towels. baby bibs. his and her pillowcases. old iron-on patterns she's kept since the sixties. new ones she found on sale at hobby lobby. she has to go slow, and it takes her weeks to finish one pattern. she has the shakes now, she says.
and robert's grandma has offered to teach me. how to embroider. how to choose the right shade of thread to make the bear's belly brown and the flowers pale pink. to make loop stitches and knots. once we get back from our new england trip, a weekly evening jaunt to her warm little house in the city is on my agenda.
it's a lost art, this sewing business. this making pictures out of string. but like the woman who relaxes to it, i'm convinced it only gets better, gets richer and more beautiful, with age.