Monday November 14th, 2011

The exercise:

Write about: the blanket.

We had a storm pass through this morning that left behind a blanket of snow. Once the snow stopped falling and the wind died down, I went and took a picture:

Most of what fell around us has melted already, but the hills are still covered.


"Your grandfather's blanket has to be around here somewhere!" He'd never seen his mother in such a frantic state before. She was tossing aside cardboard boxes without a care as to where they might land, and she'd already dropped a tattered dictionary on her foot.

"Maybe it grew legs and walked off?" He was hoping to lighten her mood but it did no good. In fact, it made things even worse.

"If you're just going to stand in the way and make stupid jokes you can go hang out with your friends and get drunk and smoke cigarettes!" Her voice was so shrill it felt like she'd driven nails into both his ears.

"It's just a stupid blanket!" He yelled as he made for the door. "I don't know why you're wasting your time looking for it!"

He slammed the door and stomped down the front stairs. He knew he shouldn't have said those things, but it was far easier than telling her that he'd thrown the blanket away the previous summer.


Greg said...

I like the snow! I'm sure I'd like it less if it happened to me though, but it sounds like a lot of it has melted away again :)
The tension between the characters is nicely brought out today, and I like your last line, neatly explaining how the situation got to that point.

The blanket
I was lying, rotting, in my very tall coffin. It was a fate that had been wished upon me by a vengeful friend, who presumably was a friend no more now that I was a corpse.
Well, a zombie really. My mind was still alive, and mostly fretful, while my body was dead, decaying, and definitely not like the ones you see in the movies. If I tried moving, bits fell off. Luckily I had a blanket to catch them on, but it was starting to look a little rotten itself.
I twisted, trying to get comfortable, forgetting for a moment, and discovered that I'd stuck to the blanket. With a soft, wet ripping sound my leg tore off at the hip. It was painless, but frustrating. Even my blanket was turning against me now.
I sighed, and my tongue fell out. I hate being dead.

Anonymous said...

marc, whoa, looks cold there, hard to imagine as I sit here in this heat.
greg, ew again, brillinat punchline as always.

The Blanket

The blanket was made of fine wool, a vibrant green in colour, its weave a simple fine herringbone, made in the factory deep in sheep country in a town which had grown literally from the wool off a sheep's back.
It formed part of her dowry, although that word was no longer used, it was, in part, true - she'd brought many fine linens, crockery and manchester to the marriage; the wedding was held on the husband's property itself, a large sheep station, the family were well-to-do. Her "dowry" wasn't much to these rich, pastoral famers, but the quality made an impression. The tastes of the old, landed gentry still held sway in these colonial parts.

The blanket that adorned the marriage bed became well worn. In time, after a number of years of trying, they had a child. She cut up the blanket into cot sized pieces. The fabric was light but warm, ideal for baby on those cold, country winter nights. As baby grew, he depended on it for more than warmth. It became his security as he took those first tentative steps towards independence. The blanket was now a faded green, worn thin in parts by it having been dragged around so much.  
Eventually, baby grew out of his need for such a toy which is as well as his new baby sister was on the way. The blanket sat in the cupboard for a couple of years, idle, waiting. Young Missy was a proper girly thing. She insisted on a pram with full set for her baby doll. The blanket was retrieved, washed and aired, and Mother trimmed it with satin ribbon, the green darker than the fabric. It looked quite striking, this new lease on life. Dolly was warm and looked smart amongst the neighbourhood selection of girl's toys at playgroup. 
In time, Missy grew out of her childish ways and the blanket was tossed into the rag bag. It fell to the bottom of the pile, not really useful. The son, all grown up, retrieved it one day; he needed a rag to polish the chrome on his car. He remembered the blanket, it still had his smell. His memory was triggered; he smiled. Mother and Father had grown quite a bit older. Missy was off at boarding school. He, himself, was ready for University. In his sentimental way, he couldn't quite see this snippet of the blanket as a car rag so he stowed it amongst his things, the tiny scrap that it was, by then. It went to Uni with him, unbeknownst to the others in digs. It stayed at the bottom of his trunk, but sometimes, in the dead of night, he would retrieve it, just to smell it once more, a reminder of home and securty and Mum's home baked apple pie. The green was apple green. 
The blanket. 

Marc said...

Greg - ah, I see you've read my second interview :P

Wonderfully icky descriptions. And I'd totally still be friends with your corpse!

Writebite - well, it's pretty hot inside by the fireplace at least!

Really enjoyed following the path of the blanket throughout the story. Very nicely done.

Anonymous said...

He was beautiful. Ten perfect fingers and toes and the most beautiful blue violet eyes imaginable. They were the eyes that could speak without words. Heather’s heart just tugged every night she arrived home from the late shift at the cafĂ© and she checked in on her precious baby Jaden. At 10 months old, he was her world. Thank goodness her mother had lived with her for the past year to help her get by. She knew she couldn’t live with these two people in her life. She dragged herself down the hall and climbed into a bed which her mother had warmed for her with a heating pad. What comfort considering she still missed her husband and his warmth. His sudden death three months back was still fresh and her emotions so raw, that even with these small comforts she found herself shedding a tear every night before going to bed. Now she drifted off to sleep knowing her mother would take care of things in the morning and let her rest.
As she awoke abruptly she couldn’t make out why her head was pounding. She tried to focus and sat up. She quickly understood that someone was knocking at her front door. Who in the world would bother her, and why wasn’t her mother answering the door? Heather quickly arose and grabbed her robe and ran to the front door. She opened in quickly, assuming it was a neighbor looking for her mother. What assaulted her nearly knocked the breath out of her. Only three months ago…the scene still vivid in her memory…a police officer standing on her porch…repeated itself. Heather could feel her knees buckle and the officer leaning forward to catch her. She knew, she just knew. He didn’t have to say a word. The officer was holding something she recognized in his arms. She couldn’t mistake it. She would know it anywhere. Jaden’s blanket. The one her own mother had quilted for him before he was born. The one Jaden didn’t go anywhere without. They were gone, the officer explained.

Anonymous said...

Greg; thanks for the laugh. it was fun.
Writebite; I loved your heartwarming story. Made me a little sad. My kid's blankets sit in my hope chest. One day I hope they take it out and smell it to remember me.

Marc said...

Marissa - very powerful writing. Really took me for a ride, great stuff!