My Bayeux: A
a Tapestry, contd.
My stepdaughter Meggie came bounding down the stairs the other day flushed with excitement.
“Debby, you’re not going to believe this!” She showed me her class history book. There, on page one hundred thirty-six, were three pictures of the Bayeux Tapestry. Chris got out the digital camera so Meggie could take pictures to school to show her teacher the re-creation by her Grandma Sara.
Grandma Sara, who can’t remember she has a blonde, blue-eyed granddaughter. Grandma Sara, who can’t remember I’ve married Megan’s father, Chris.
My cell phone rests beside me, and my fingers autonomically dial my mother.
She answers on the first ring and gasps in delighted surprise. “How did you find me?” She always says this when I call, her voice lilting with amazement at her clever daughter. She suffers from a delusion that she owns multiple apartment buildings scattered across the city. I’m a regular Sherlock for tracking her down.
“Mom, is the painting of a man in a boat hanging on the wall?”
“Then, you’re home.”
“Is that so?” Bewilderment colors her voice.
“Hey, Mom, guess what? Megan’s studying the Bayeux at school. She’s so proud of your tapestry. She took pictures to show the class what Grandma Sara made.”
Silence. I wait a beat, filling the moment by willing her wires to stretch across the abyss of her intellect and connect.
Finally, she says, “I have a big hot cup of coffee in front of me.”
It is pointless to wish for things that cannot be. “I guess you’d better go drink it.”
She hangs up on me like she usually does. I sit for a while, talking to her tapestry; telling it my desires and dreams and the stories I wish I could tell her.
My yearnings are trapped in the wool, mixed-in with hers. The line that separates each generation melds and fades. Each stitch is my link to her, the only evidence I have of her brilliance.
I stay seated, staring at her work, knowing that every time my mother and I end a conversation, we are one step further toward losing each other.