Yarn

White yarn turned into lacy covers for toilet paper rolls. Skeins of homely grey wool became 17 Christmas mice. Grandma’s knitting needles kicked together on long silver legs through balls of yarn that darted around the living room. Hot afternoons high above Minneapolis, her stout thighs stuck to my skinny ones on the sofa, her needles clacked like a second old lady while we watched Days of Our Lives, with its slamming doors, kisses, and crying. “He’s no good,” Grandma would tell me, or “She deserves better,” or “I was afraid of that.”

  The author's grandma, making something pretty.

The author's grandma, making something pretty.

Over TV trays of Wonder Bread covered in oleo and sugar, with the last of her preserved rhubarb, we’d watch General Hospital, then As the World Turns. Summer vacation passed, as each day Grandma wore a different homemade purple dress, ranging from palest lilac to deep violet, and a rotation of aunts, uncles, and cousins visited while she knit them baby blankets and ski caps, and once, with a tiny, hooked needle, she crocheted a red bikini for my Barbie. Sometimes someone would mention The Farm, a place they all loved but could never return to because Grandpa still lived there. In the city, Grandma had fashioned herself a new life, with lots of accessories and a pink car, just like Barbie. She’d cushioned herself with family and ball upon ball of colorful yarn, made a soft place, a woolen fortress blocking out the one person who could make a big woman feel small.

- Lynn Mundell's flash fiction has appeared most recently in Drunk Monkeys, Tin House "Flash Fidelity," and Pure Slush. More is forthcoming this year in Split Lip Magazine, A3 Review, KYSO Flash, and Five Points. Lynn lives in Northern California, where she co-edits 100 Word Story.