At Arm’s Length

gy-row-at-night CrispinaKemp


“You cannot avoid her forever,” Mom’s sewing barely paused as she cut the thread and got another length through the eye of the needle, “not when Alice lives but an arm’s length away.”

I hunched miserably over my own sewing, the tip of my tongue lodged against my teeth where it would not show but can still provide me some security. The ‘hidden’ stitch kept sprouting comas of thread on the side of the hem one wasn’t supposed to notice any. I was hopeless at needlework. Mom still insisted.

I avoided you finding safety pins in my hem, I thought to myself, and our cramped quarters allow even less than arm’s length.

“I’ll go around,” I tried.

Mom actually snorted. “You think Mrs. Munster will become your thoroughfare?”

I shrugged. Mrs. Munster’s house bridged the alley. She was a dragon, but I just couldn’t face Alice. I was too ashamed.



For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge





27 thoughts on “At Arm’s Length

    • πŸ™‚ I guess you’d done some mending by hand over the years … πŸ˜‰ We grew up learning how to mend and darn and hem and fix things, and so the image was visceral for me. I’m glad it was transmitted, too! πŸ™‚

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      • I did dress design and dressmaking to earn some cash when my children were small. In fact I was taking dressmaking when still at school. The money esrned llowed me to make my own clothes, preferable to what my mother would provide

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      • Ah, necessity sure does motivate … My mom sewed in large part because she had to dress the seven of us on a very tight budget, and she did so well. She also knit (and taught us to) sweaters and vests and scarves and such, and we all know our way around a needle and thread, even if we no longer make our own dresses and aprons and skirts and … Here’s to making do, and good for you!


      • Ah, can’t see my dad knitting (or sewing anything, for that matter …). But, I am glad I was taught (my neighbor helped with teaching the crochet part, because I’m ambidextrous and so was also using the left hand and my mom got cross-eyed trying to explain THAT … πŸ˜‰ ) – and I still enjoy making things. Not as often as I used to, but I remember a sweater I made for myself from all kinds of ‘leftover yarn’ from other projects – it was all one piece, began at one sleeve and ended at the end of the other sleeve, then the sides sewn together. I did it for the challenge more than anything. πŸ™‚ Ended up pretty fab. I wish I still had it. πŸ™‚


      • My daughters have acquired all my craft skills. The middle one does amazing needlework (embroidery etc) better than I ever did. I had to give up when I lost my grip due to a cyst buried amongst the bones in my wrist. When that wa sfinally removed, my eyesight was such that I didn’t resume

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      • Oy, bummer. I had a ‘bible cyst’ (odd name with a long history for the name, which you probably know) in my wrist in the past. Made things very difficult because it was buried quite deep. Fortunately it did not really interfere with grip (it just hurt and limited range-of-motion in my wrist a bit) and it got reabsorbed without surgery, though it took years. Sounds like yours was even more troublesome! But … I’m glad that the daughters took it on!

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      • I had surgery. An interesting experience! I had a residucal cough after a cold so the anaesthetist wouldn’t put me out. Just ‘localised general’ hence I was awake and aware and kept asking questions. Bet they wished I’d been knocked right out!

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      • LOL! I hear ya! Similar thing happened to a friend of mine during knee surgery … Though she hoped that they attributed it to being a bit loopy from the medication, I can tell you that it was just her being her … I think the peak of it was when the surgeon started humming some tune and she picked up the harmony … πŸ™‚

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      • Yep.To be fair, I’m not sad to have slept through mine, especially as two of the three presented some unexpected stuff and and a problem during one of them almost gave my surgeon a heart-attack. I was pleased enough to only hear of it after the fact, when all was well. The poor thing was tuckered out. πŸ˜‰

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