The first thing I see is her kind face. She looks proud, and I want to smile. I can’t though, or rather; I can’t stop smiling. I want to touch her face and say thank you for creating me, but I can't move my limbs. I want to look down to see what the problem is, but not surprisingly, I can’t accomplish this simple task either. She just continues to smile at me as she pulls the needle through my body over and over again. She says she’s a stresser of seams.
When the light drains out of the room, she leaves. I’m scared she’s left for good, but in a few moments she’s back. She comes bearing an item which she lights and in return, it gives light. She picks her needle back up and continues to work on my lower bit. Through and through the needle travels along. Slowly but surely, a body roughly resembling her own starts to form.
Days and nights pass. I can only tell the difference by the difference in lighting, which gets brighter for longer now, in the portion of the room that I can see. She rarely leaves, and even when she does, it’s for such short periods that I hardly notice. She sings, hums and talks to me all the while. One day after she’s tirelessly sewn for hours, the needle stops abruptly. It’s stopped before, but not like this.
She grins with all her teeth as she pulls the needle tight. She crosses the room and grabs the fabric separator. As she’s walking towards me, I have a moment of panic. Is this it? After all this toiling? She’s just going to separate me? I’m about to try screaming for the first time, like she sometimes does when the needle attacks her; but I don’t get the chance to. With a hurried dramatic flourish, she kills the thread. I’m appalled, that thread has been loyal to the fabric for days.
She grins at me, and suddenly I question her motives. Separating fabric, threading the needle, then separating the thread from the needle and fabric? What twisted mechanism is that? She sets the needle down and I feel sad for it’s loss. She advances towards me, then backs away slowly. What is the purpose of this maneuver? Is she sizing me up? She does say “size” a lot.
To my surprise, she simply sits back down on her throne, and resumes her stressing of the seams. She separates the fabric, bonds fresh thread to the needle, and starts anew.
She glances up at me every once and awhile and smiles to herself. I, of course, smile back. She holds the fabric up towards me and lays it over me, all the while muttering “Sizes…”. Sometimes she tucks me into the fabric and leaves me in it. By the end of the day, all sorts of myself is tucked into various shaped fabrics. She giggles and leans over to collide her smile on me with gentle excitement.
She grabs her fabric from the needle on the wall and opens the door. She glances back at me and giggles once more. She rushes out and doesn’t return for a long period of darkness. When the light is brighter, she returns. She doesn’t pause to put her fabric on the wall needle. Instead, she walks directly over to me and picks me up. We leave the room, and over her body, I see the other half of the room. I like it, I hope I see more of it when we return.
She takes me by huge rooms and numerous stressers of seams. We pass by so many of these things - and more - that I wonder if the light will start to fade. The light stays bright though, and soon we stop at a room. It’s smaller than the surrounding rooms, but she seems to want this one. Will the stressing of seams continue here? We enter the room, and she greets a stresser of seams with her smile.
I’m passed to the stresser, and then set aside as they embrace, their fabrics colliding. She starts talking, laughing and smiling, but to my surprise- it’s not directed at me. I watch in confusion as I try to understand why she’s so happy. I’m over here, not over there with her. I can’t get her attention, though I try. Time and time again, I fail. I give up, and am forced to watch them laugh in a way that makes her fabric twirl.
They collide and talk for so long that the light has become no more. When she realizes this she smiles at him with her lips again and leaves. I’m not worried; she’ll return with the light. This thought reinforces the smile I have, and I wait patiently. After a while, the light returns. The light continues to get brighter, she should be here by now. The door opens, but it’s not her. Instead it’s the stresser of seams from the night before.
He picks me up and takes me out of the new room. What has he done with her? Is he taking me to her? He takes me past all of the big rooms and stressers of seams that I saw yesterday. We pass my old room and I wonder where we are headed. After we’ve passed all the rooms, I can only assume there are more to come. He stops in front of what is unlike any place I have ever seen. We walk through it’s rough fabric until we reach a wooden needle. Like the new place, it’s unlike any needles I’ve known. It’s sharp in a dull way and has a similar needle separating it in the middle.
He hangs me from the needle and situates my body on the lower one. It isn’t uncomfortable, and I can see far out to the rooms. Is she in one of those rooms? Did he put her on a needle like he did with me? I’m beginning to assume he has, when I see her. She’s pushing her way through the unusual fabric from which we came also. She collides into him with both fabrics and her smile instantaneously. She looks up at me, and I smile inwardly at the familiarity. She starts talking, and though she’s looks at me; it’s for the fellow stresser.
“He’s beautiful isn’t he?” she smiles. “He most certainly is. He’s well dressed too!” They both laugh at that. Me, I realize as an afterthought, they’re talking about me. “You really like him?” she turns to him now. “I really do! Better, I love him! Not as much as I love you granted, but still.” They laugh again, and then turn away from me. “Come on honey. We gotta get back to the stores.” She grabs his hand and he guides her away though the new fabric.
“Talk care of the c-” she yells over her shoulder, but the wind carries away the last of it. What was she saying? What words did she say like that? Carrot, kind, crop? No, it was important to her. What was her favorite thing to talk about? Princes! Princes, princesses, towers, knights and kingdoms. Take care of her kingdom I will! I’m a knight protecting her kingdom, and I’m honored to do so.
The light darkens and I welcome it. Over and over I welcome the light and the dark alike. Many lights pass, and then her stresser comes to visit me. He brings a mighty beast, but I know he won’t hurt me. He loves her, and now me too. He separates the weird fabric from the bottom of the kingdom until it is no more. I bid him ado as the light leaves us and await his next visit.
He visits me time and time again as the light fades in and out. He comes with many different beasts, and leaves me in peace each time. Many lights after one of his latest visits, I notice something new.. A new sort of fabric has begun to spring from the bottom of the kingdom. It’s like the last, but softer and differing in color.
As the fabric enlarges, it takes over the kingdom just as the last one. When it’s starting to look like the old fabric, I receive visitors. I welcome them with open arms - as it’s the only way I can. They repay me by ravaging the kingdom and tearing at me with clawing needles. They’re no longer visitors, they’re invaders!
Light after light they come back to mock me. Daring me to chase them when they know I cannot. Why do they torment me so? I only want to please the stressers! I try everything to get them to leave. At least, everything I can do, which isn’t much. Though if the wind rustles me the right way they leave for short periods of time.
I do not understand why I am imprisoned in this fabric, never to move. If I could move, I could help! How long will this go on? Where are the stressers? I cannot do this alone it seems, and I feel miserable for failing them. I need their help to protect this kingdom!
One day, as the invaders are rummaging through what’s left of the kingdom, she comes. She walks through the strange fabric and right over to me. “Oh you poor thing!” she says to me. “Shoo! Shoo! You ugly thing you!” she waves at the invaders. “You’re not doing a good enough job.” she says with a grimace. I want so badly to frown in agreement, but I can do is smile the smile she gave me. “Guess I’ll need a new one...” she sighs as she walks away. Replace me? After all we’ve been through? After all those days in the room and all this time I’ve spent trying to protect her kingdom?
The light begins to darken and for a moment I’m confused. It’s not time for that yet, is it? The sky stays a darker light and then it does an unusual thing. The sky yells, and then it starts to cry. Tears drop down onto the fabric and I’m worried it will ruin them. The fabric seems to like the sky’s pain though, and soaks it up. I stop worrying and enjoy the way the sky lights up through the darkness.
The light gradually gets darker. When it lightens up again, the sky is happy once more. I’m happy along with it, especially when I see her coming up from the rooms. She weaves through the wet fabric, and carries her own. With her is the fellow stresser, who carries another needle like mine. He inserts this needle into the ground and then takes the fabric from her. He places the fabric on the needle and then stands back to look at it.
“She looks wonderful darling!” he tells her proudly. “Oh I know! Don’t they just look great together?” she asks excitedly. “Yes they do!” he collides his smile with hers gently. “Just one more thing…” she walks over to me now, and turns my head towards the new fabric. That’s when we see each other. “Oh honey…” she says in the other fabrics direction. Honey….what a nice name.
“They’ll take wonderful care of the crop dear.” her stresser says in the background of my perception. I don’t even have time to note that he called her kingdom a crop. This fabric, she is the most wonderful that I have ever seen. “My beautiful scarecrows...together at last.”