KEEPING VIGIL

It was unseasonably warm for November; the sun was brilliant with only a few wispy clouds scattered here and there, but the autumn leaves swirling in the wind were a reminder that winter was just around the corner.

I decided to take a walk in the nature trail near my house. I didn’t like leaving my elderly mother home alone for too long but she was having one of her lucid days and insisted she’d be fine at home doing some sewing.

I wasn’t gone long when it started getting cloudy and cold. As I walked up the front path, I spotted my mother sitting in her rocking chair on the porch. She was busy at work, her sewing basket by her side.

“Mom, it’s cold. Come inside and I’ll put on the kettle for tea.”

My mother looked up and smiled sweetly but her eyes were blank; I could tell she didn’t know who I was.

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly do that. I need to stay here. You see, I’m waiting for someone and I have to finish my mending” she replied.

“Who are you waiting for?” I asked quietly, dreading her answer.

“My husband. The war is over and he’ll be coming home very soon.”

It was then that I noticed mom was repairing the zipper on my late father’s WWII bomber jacket. Little by little, day by day, Mom slipped deeper into another era – a time long gone but fresh in her mind as though it all happened just yesterday.

NAR © 2022

TWO DAYS TO WAIT

She sat at her indestructible Singer factory sewing machine, hands flying like an octopus knitting a scarf.  

I peeked around the corner into her sewing room. Without lifting her head, she sensed my presence. “What is it, principessa?” she asked.

“Can we go to Post Arrow?” The little family diner with a few kiddie rides was one of my favorite places to go. We’d get pastrami sandwiches, fries and ride the bumper cars, Ferris wheel and carousel – heaven on earth for an 8-year-old kid.

Without missing a stitch, my mother replied “Cara, can’t you see how much work I have left to do? Besides, dinner is already in the oven.”

I stood on the threshold saying nothing. My mother knew I was there but kept sewing at warp speed. When she looked up, she saw my red, swollen eyes and tear-stained face. Her usual stern expression softened a bit. “If I finish my work maybe we will go on Saturday” and she returned to the task at hand.

I drew a big red circle around Saturday on my calendar. Two days to wait.

First thing on Saturday I asked my mother about going to Post Arrow. Again she said “maybe”; she had to deliver her finished projects to the shop first.

Hours went by. I kept vigil at the window until my mother returned. She looked up at me and grinning, motioned me to come down.

“Andiamo, cara! Go get your daddy. Now we have some fun!”

NAR © 2022