Friday, August 24, 2007

The Blanket

First published 'Doppelgänger 13½' 1991

The blanket that my grandmother (and my mother after her) had knitted from at least a century of tail-end wool was one of my most cherished possessions. Its brightly coloured squares were sewn together with no concern for matching, but beautiful nonetheless. Its beauty not only stemmed from such sentimental attachment but also from seeming to be a living creature which delighted in lying on top of me, blunting those shadows sharpened from the winter darkness.

The rot set in, however, when I got myself a husband. It had been knitted upon the bone-needles of my mother and grandmother, who had lovingly clicked whole nights away watching it grow faster than any child of theirs, and so I knew the blanket could not be suffering from jealousy. It was a proud tradition in our family to marry, after all. No, I assumed that the stitches were loosening (and even laddering from square to square) because the blanket disapproved of the man I had chosen, not the fact he was my husband. It little cared to protect HIM from the cold.

What option did I have then, m'lord, when I saw the unravelling, the pitiful thread-barren, the fraying and teasing out, the sheer worrying of its texture into straggly tangles? At first, I lay awake at night, listing to him snoring, my fingers fiddling uncontrollably with the tantalizing bobbles of wool, weaving the loose ends into cats' cradles of torment: knotting and unknotting mischievous strands which should have stayed unknotted and knotted respectively.

Luckily my conscience remained untrammelled. I pulled the blanket off him night after night, hoping he'd catch pneumonia from Jack Frost himself. He merely tugged it back in his sleep with a greater strength than that he possessed during his waking hours. In many ways, some of the blanket's unseaming must be laid at the door of such antics. But not all. The blanket literally loathed my husband.

So, m'lord, what could I do? I merely watched it suffocate him. You see, it didn't need my help. How could I have managed to tame such a bucking monster with my own small hands? No, it were the blanket, m’lord, that killed my husband. How else could it have become threaded through from one end to the other, indelibly stained with his sticky black blood and all his innards trawled?

No comments: