Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I Like to Write Too

Confessions of a Fabricaholic

I stood in the meeting room full of women. Oh, wait a minute; I remember a few men, too. Several women stood up and told the story of their addiction. Suddenly I felt eyes turned toward me. Slowly I rose to my feet.

"My name is Sherry Ray, and I am a fabricaholic." I started shaking.

The woman beside me said, "That’s alright, Sugar. You’re doing just fine. We’ve all been there." She patted my arm.

I pulled myself together. "I know that I am supposed to stand here and take full responsibility for my…for my, er, for my addiction." My hands started to shake. I reached in my pocket and felt the fat quarter I’d stashed there before the meeting and caressed it. Feeling the vibrations from the closely-woven, 100% cotton calico fabric made by Cranston Print Works Company in the U.S.A., I quickly calmed. "I confess that I have spent hard-earned money towards my addiction."

Those surrounding me went, "Tsk-tsk."

The kind lady beside me said, "Amen, sister."

I had the white FQ dotted with dainty pink rosebuds clenched tightly in my hand – inside my pocket of course. "My children have eaten cereal five days in a row. For supper."

I heard crying behind me.

"My husband has gone to a cold lonely bed several nights in a row."

A moan erupted from one of the men.

"I confess that not all of the grocery bags I brought in the house really had groceries in them."

"Oh-no" came from across the room.

"I have hidden fabric not only in boxes under my bed, but between the mattress and box springs in my bedroom." I ducked my head. "And in my children’s rooms."

A gasp from the right side of the room escaped from the lips of one of the women.

"The trunk of my car is full of fabric. I don’t even have a spare tire any more. I admit that I sold it to buy more fabric and stashed it in the spare tire well under the mat in the trunk." My hand smoothed the FQ in my pocket. I wished I’d brought the pink and green coordinating print with me.

A woman in the front row on the left jumped up and ran from the room.

"I have yards and yards of fabric hidden behind the linens in the linen closet."

I noticed one woman taking notes.

"Last month I made three long skirts. I don’t intend to wear them. I modeled them for my husband then hung them in the closet until I’m ready to cut them up for quilts. Then I can brag about how I’m recycling fabric."

Two women were now taking notes.

"I have fabric hanging under the quilts that are hanging on quilt racks."

The woman who ran out after I mentioned stashing fabric in my spare tire well came back in dusting her hands off. She had a black mark smeared on her forehead.

"I climbed up in the attic a couple of months ago and found the ice chests my husband stored up there for the winter. They are full of fabric now. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it when he starts back fishing in the spring." The FQ in my pocket was starting to hum beneath my fingertips.

Several people were rapidly scribbling by now.

"My husband built cabinets in the storage building for vegetables I can out of our garden. I don’t can."

The woman in charge started banging on the table and asked me to sit down. Several people shushed her.

"I don’t even freeze the vegetables. After my husband goes to work, I take them to the farmer’s market in town and sell them. I use the money to buy more fabric. Besides, there’s no room in the freezer. It’s full of fabric."

Half the people in the room were writing like the world was coming to an end. The rest of them were begging for a pen or a pencil and some paper.

"I bought some of those space bags that you put stuff in and hook up to your vacuum cleaner and it sucks all the air out. You’d be amazed at how much material you can hide under the couch cushions when you do that."

The woman in charge of the meeting couldn’t find a pen. She pulled her lipstick out of her purse and started taking notes.

"I smooth out lengths of fabric and hang it on hangers and then hang my jeans and slacks over them. You can’t see the fabric. I even gained weight just so the jeans would be bigger and cover more of the fabric."

Everyone in the place was writing and…a woman wearing a pink blouse was actually drooling.

"I bought one of those blankets you wrap around your hot water heater to keep the water hot enough so that it wouldn’t use as much electricity. But first, I wrapped the heater with fabric."

My hand grasped the FQ. I needed to see it. I forgot and pulled it out of my pocket. Remember that real nice lady sitting beside me? She tried to take it away. I hung on for dear life, but one of those nosy old women behind me got hold of a corner. But that woman and me, well we got it away from her pronto. Somebody tripped me, and I fell flat of my back on the floor. That hussy was on top of me. We looked like we were sitting on a seesaw with the FQ going back and forth and back and forth. I felt it start to tear.

"No!" I shouted as I saw it rip in half. When it finally split all the way, I pulled back so hard that I hit myself in the eye. I clenched my fist around my fat eighth and held it close to my body the way I’ve seen football players do when they get the ball and start running for the goal line. I headed for the door. Those men that were at the meeting…were they ever fast, but I beat them. I felt one of them grab at my blouse but I rolled and pulled loose. I saw one of the football players on TV do that too.

I ran to my car, got in, and locked the doors. It was nearly a riot. Somebody must have called 911, because I heard sirens. When everybody turned to look at the red and blue lights coming into the parking lot, I was able to make my getaway.

My husband was so upset when I got home. He told me that he’d gotten a phone call about the near riot at the meeting place. He gave me an ultimatum. I either had to get rid of the fabric or he was going to leave.

And that’s how I got kicked out of FHA (Fabric Hoarders Anonymous), got a black eye, and my husband has an apartment…he forgot about his ice chests in the attic.

This is a work of fiction. Resemblance to any person living or dead is purely a coincidence. This story is copyrighted ©
No part of this shall be printed or reproduced without the written permission of Sherry Ray.