Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)
TITLE: The Good Neighbor
By Vickie Buchanan
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“I can’t do this anymore,” grumbled Deena to herself. “It’s just too hard on me. It’s too much to ask of a neighbor.” She sat down hard into the club chair in her peaceful, quiet den after spending the last five hours at Molly’s. She had agreed to help Molly make her daughter’s wedding dress. A talented seamstress, Deena had made many gowns before. She was very willing to give Molly some neighborly assistance.
Everyone on Danbury Court would agree Deena was a very good neighbor. She made soup if you were ill, watered your plants if you went on vacation, helped clean up after the block party. And neighbors were there for her when her husband died suddenly. Danbury was a pretty little cul de sac of only 9 homes. The neighborhood was quite stable; most residents had lived there 10 years or more. Deena had watched Molly’s daughter grow up and was happy to be part of her wedding plans. She had not bargained for the size of project in which she found herself.
Molly’s daughter, Katy, was only nineteen, a teeny bit spoiled, and an incurable romantic. The dress she chose was long, elaborately detailed and made of a fabric that was notoriously hard to handle. The arthritis in Deena’s hands had not bothered her for a long time, but the intricacies of the dress had caused a flare up that included her back, due to sitting for long periods while stitching. Wednesday’s session was the last straw.
“The dress is turning out beautifully, Deena,” said Katy as she looked in the bedroom mirror. “One more fitting and it will be perfect. Then we can start on the maid of honor’s gown and my veil.”
“The what?” Deena stopped mid-stitch. This was the first she’d heard of an attendant’s gown. Hadn’t Molly said ‘wedding gown, not gowns?
“You know, the pink dress for Sara.” Katy responded as she traipsed off to the dressing room to change, unaware of the stunned expression on Deena’s face.
Deena finished the row of beads she was working on, then excused herself and went home, furious. She would have to talk to Molly and let her know that two dresses were going to be an imposition.
“I hope there aren’t a half dozen more bridesmaids dresses that they expect me to make.” More grumbling as she imagined bolts of fabric and beads in endless supply.
She hated the idea of a confrontation with Molly. Or with Katy, for that matter. She would have to be very diplomatic. Those bridesmaids would just have to find someone else to make their dresses. Or they could just buy their dresses. Why didn’t Molly tell her to begin with that there was a whole wedding party expecting her help? The grumbling continued until Deena found herself quite upset.
The following day, when Molly opened the door to let Deena in, she couldn’t miss the tight lips and frown on Deena’s face.
“Hi, Deena. Ummm, is something wrong? You look worried or upset…or something.”
“We need to talk about this sewing project, Molly. Yes, I am a bit upset. Katy apparently thinks I’m going to make ALL the dresses for this wedding. You only asked me to help with hers, and that’s all I expected to do. You know, this close needle work and beading is playing havoc with my hands.” Deena poured out all her complaints.
“Oh, my!” exclaimed Molly. “I certainly didn’t intend to impose on you. I don’t know where Katy got that idea. All the dresses? Her maid of honor is having her dress made by a seamstress she knows, and there’s only one other attendant. She has bought a very nice dress. Deena, all I needed was a little help with Katy’s dress. I sew a little, but not as well as you. We really appreciate your work.”
Deena clearly saw how she had blown the situation out of proportion. No, Katy hadn’t actually said ‘all the dresses’, and must have been confused about the maid of honor’s dress. Deena’s anger softened at once with relief that she was not being taken advantage of.
“Oh.” She didn’t know what she could say that wouldn’t sound foolish. “Well, then, let’s get to work.”
They looked at each other for a moment; a laugh burst forth from both of them as they headed for the sewing table. Good neighbors are such treasures.
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