My mother’s favorite fabric store shares names with my ex-girlfriend. Well, she wasn’t even my ex-girlfriend, technically – We had a private, yet vibrant, love. If you could call it love. When I was young, my mother never went to the fabric store. It wasn’t until recently that she took up quilting. I halted in confusing whenever she told me that she’d just got back from Rebecca’s – realizing that she meant the fabric store, and not my ex-girlfriend, if you wanted to call her that.
My mother churns out quilts like a celebrity collects relationships – Whenever they get bored of one, they fold it up, put it into a nice box, and start a new one. Or, if they’re feeling generous or satisfied, they go public with it and put it out for sale, hoping someone will come along and pick it up, brush it off, and make it their own. Someone usually does. My mom has more than a dozen boxes of quilts in the spare room, and I’m pretty sure there are celebrities who have had a dozen little relationships or significant others.
I visited the spare room in my parent’s house, the one beside the room that used to be mine, before I went to college. The walls were lined with fabric samples; quilting accessories, sewing books, quilt patterns, scissors, glue, and more. In three short months, my mother had created a library of quilting equipment, like she’d been quilting for years. She had everything she’d really ever need to make a perfect quilt. And she’d gotten all of it from Rebecca’s Fabric Store.
I should have known before anything started not to touch Rebecca, or let her touch me. But the common thread between all people is doing something even though you have facts that tell you it’s not the thing to be doing. Who hasn’t taken a large bite out of a Jelly doughnut two days after the doctor told them to lay off the sweets? Or stayed up late, knowing that you’d be dead tired during that presentation the next day?
But my mother doesn’t stop with the fabric that she has. It’s just the start, really. She really doesn’t need any more fabric. She doesn’t need anything else to make another quilt. But she feels that way, of course. So she buys more fabric. More equipment, more accessories, scissors and thread.
Rebecca inserted herself into my life like one of those flyers that comes with the Sunday newspapers, buried between the comics and the sports page. The ones with half price coupons for the next day only, printed on dry, recycled paper. I took that coupon and studied it for a good, long time. I didn’t need what the coupon was offering. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to let it pass me by. I didn’t need it, but I wanted it. And guess what? Rebecca was there. She was fun. She wanted to be with me more than I wanted to be with her. So I cut that coupon out and stuck it in my wallet, and was sure to not let it expire.
My mother will walk into the kitchen, arms full with bags filled with fabric that she never needed and will probably never use – But she wanted it, and she got it. She comes waddling in, announcing:
“I just went to Rebecca’s!”
The first time this happened, I jumped, but now, I know what she means. I ask her, sometimes: “Did you get what you needed?”
She’ll smile, waddle forward, and put the bags of quilting accessories onto the kitchen table in front of me.
“Well,” she’ll reason, “I think so.”