Today I have a piece of flash fiction for all of you.
Today's word: STORIES
Emmeline ran her work-roughened hands along the surface of the quilt covering her lap. It told many stories, each patch having been contributed by a different member of her family over the generations. The original patches were at the center of the quilt, at the heart of it. Those central squares of fabric were so faded by the passage of time that Emmeline could hardly guess what the colors once were, let alone the patterns.
There was an unspoken understanding that each generation was expected to make their own contribution. It was a sacred pact made across the centuries, and it linked her to people that had died long before her own great grandparents were born.
There were times of joy and times of sorrow in this quilt. There was a patch from her great great great great great grandmother, taken from the fabric of a dress she wore as a child in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. There was a patch made from the uniform her great great grandmother wore while in command of the International Jovian space station.
She picked up her needle and began to thread it, thinking it strange that she would be the last person to ever contribute to this quilt. The war was devastating, leaving humanity scattered across the remains of the world. There were clusters of people living in space, most likely, and she hoped they found their own ways to survive. She didn’t want to think that the human race was about to disappear forever.
Emmeline, however, wouldn’t bring a child into the world when daily survival was such a struggle. Every day was uncertain, and every last resource was precious.
Then why did she cut a square of fabric from an old shirt to add to the family quilt? There wasn’t going to be anyone to pass it on to, and there were so many other uses for the fabric that would’ve been more practical.
It was an obligation, she supposed. It was her own small way of connecting to the past. She’d lived alone for the past several years, and when she began to sew, embedding a piece of her own life into the collective history of her family, she felt a connection she hadn’t felt in a long time.
There were so many stories. So many lives. And she was a part of it all.