As the fireplace flames flickered, and the domino game went on, my thoughts drifted away and I let my book drop into my lap. I suppose I closed my eyes. Then I began to see glimpses of a quilt in a frame, and of great grapevine wreaths in the middle, each with a bright starry rosette at its centre, and long winding borders of vine, with fat clusters of grapes–green grapes, yellow grapes, fuschia grapes–on three sides of its square space, and on the fourth side, bright maple leaves like a sudden, vivid autumn after a long, warm, fruitful summer.|
Then, as my mind drifted even further, I could see a pair of hands, one on top, pushing in the needle and pulling it out, and the other underneath, receiving the touch of the needle’s point, making sure the thread would really reach the underside of the three layers–cloth, filling, cloth–and hold them together. Those hands emerged from ruffled cuffs, like flowers in themselves, and the cuffs formed the ends of long, white sleeves with tiny sprigs of flowers on them. And as those slim competent arms led up under a shawl of deep rich red, to a slender neck, I almost caught the form of a face.
But before I could look into her eyes, could see her clearly so that I would know her again, something Mama said distracted my attention, and I lost the vision, or image, or whatever it had been, and began to be aware of where I was, and what I could hear.
“Tomorrow should be nice and clear,” Mama was saying.
“Good,” Daddy answered. “Get ready for bed now, guys,” he added, to Joshua and Martin.
As my brothers went toward the stairs, I followed, feeling drowsy and ready for sleep. But while I longed for rest, I realized that I wanted something else, too.
“You know that quilt we saw at the museum–” I began, while I set Martin’s shoes and clothes in order.
“The one with the grapevines? The one you were talking to Mama about?” I heard Joshua’s voice, coming from his own room. None of the walls on the upper level of the cottage reached to the high peaked ceiling, so he could hear us perfectly. But he came padding into Martin’s room anyway. “I knew you’d be wanting to find out where it came from.”
“Well,” I agreed. “You guessed right.”
“In that case,” he said, “until you’re old enough to drive, I don’t see how we can find out without getting Mama to take us wherever we have to look.”
“Yes, Bizabet,” Martin said. “Don’t we always help you?”