I wasn’t able to finish the last post like I wanted to because Ellie got after me for staying up too late. Ah, well. I like it that someone is actually attempting to take care of me.
I haven’t gone back to school yet. Mom says I’m still too weak and I still throw up every now and them. My body just hasn’t adjusted to being back at home yet. She also said that I’m more likely to get an infection at school than at home in my room. So I’ve been homeschooling with her.
She isn’t really a very good teacher, so most of the time, I teach myself. It works, I guess. Whatever helps me get by.
Now for the story.
So the next day, after I was done with chemo for the day and thought I was feeling okay, I went to Phoenix’s room like she’d told me. The door was open a crack, so I tapped once and pushed it open a bit more. She was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor, staring at a mound of yarn as she pulled some strands from the others.
When she saw the door out the corner of her eyes, she nodded. “You can come in.”
Today, she wasn’t wearing the same black cap. It was a powder blue with two pompons hanging from strands of yarn that were connected to the top of the hat.
“Nice hat,” I said as I eased myself down on the floor beside her on the black shag rug. Her forehead furrowed in concentration and the tip of her tongue stuck from between her lips. The only acknowledgement I was given was a tiny flick of the fingers in my direction.
So I watched her pull the yarn from her mound. She seemed content to do just that. It was only after she had begun to braid three pieces together that I realized why she had a mini-hill of yarn in the middle of the floor. But I didn’t speak so I wouldn’t break her concentration.
Her eyes followed her fingers with great care and the braid grew gradually longer and became a splash of color as she pulled more strands into the braid as the others began to run out of string.
Purple, green, and blue began the braid, then faded into deeper shades, then lightened into red, orange, and yellow and darkened again. When she was about the reach the end (and when the braid was about twelve feet long) she pulled three new pieces from the pile. Black, white, and gray.
Before she began work with these, she stood and went to a desk that stood in one corner of the room next to a pink-flowered couch. She took something from on top of the desk and sat back down with it. It was a little silver hook with an even tinier hook at the end.
With the three new strands and the stick-hook, she began to weave them into the braid—lacing them through each loop and crevice to intertwine the dark with the beautiful colors she’d woven together with her small fingers.
Suddenly, she stopped. She studied her work for a moment. Then she held the braid out to me. “You try.”
“I’ll show you. Here.” She handed me the silver stick-hook and had me hold the braid in one hand.
“This is a crochet hook,” she said as she held up the stick. “You can use it to crochet or . . .” she paused and touched the braid lightly, “do this.”
“I don’t know. I made it up.” She pulled the black yarn through the tiny crevice the green and purple made and flipped it back around the weave back through the purple and blue. “Like that. But keep the lengths even so you don’t end up with a mess.”
“Umm . . .” I had no idea how to do it, she showed me again. When I actually got around the trying it, it did end up a mess, but as she said, “a very sophisticated mess.”
After I was done weaving the last strand into the braid, she took it from me and got two knitting needles from on the desk, then changed her mind before she sat down again.
“How good are you feeling today?”
“Pretty okay, I guess. Why?”
“Good.” Her eyes shifted to the bed. “I made you a new hat this morning.” She glanced at the one already on my head and sighed. “Do you really like that one?”
I nodded. “You bet.”
“Well . . . okay.” She crossed the room to the bed and pulled the braid after her, laying it out
carefully on the quilt and setting the needles beside it. Then she slipped a navy blue cap from beneath her pillow and tugged off her powder blue one. “Which one?”
I startled when I realized she was asking me which looked better on her. “I like both,” I said because I was uncertain as to what exactly she was asking.
“Just pick one, Jove No-Middle-Name Caraway.” She gave me a look.
“Oh. Well, I guess the navy blue.”
“Thank you.” She pulled it on over her blond hair and tossed the other onto the bed beside the braid.
Then she crossed the room to me and took my hand, tugging it to pull me to my feet. I stood and saw for the first time that I was a whole head taller.
“We’re going for a walk, No-Middle-Name.”