The ‘Q’ Factor
The waves lapped the shore as Lidia walked along the beach, her favorite place since she was young. She would walk with her mother holding her hand skipping trying to keep up. The sand would squish between her toes making her giggle; her mother loved hearing her little pumpkin laugh. Lidia felt a tear form remembering the dearest person who was once in her life; feeling the emptiness left after her mother passed away. She always felt God had something against her to take her mom like he did. The sun was beginning to set and the smell of the sea drifted into her nose, Lidia knew there was only one other time in her life that made her happy.....
20 Years earlier:
Lidia woke early knowing this was her first day at her job, she liked the idea of having her own little cubical and no-one she had to look at while she rung clients about their insurance policies. She hoped to get over her fear of rejection; for now, she was happy the way she was. A clap of thunder made Lidia jump out of frustration knowing she would have to take the bus and get wet in the rain. She looked forward to something new after work she would be trying something called “quilting” or patchwork as some people would call it. She had always wanted to learn how to do this but would put it off thinking it was for “elderly” women. Now at the age of forty-six she wondered if she had left it all a bit late. Her mum used to say” Pumpkin, it’s never too late to try something new in your life; whatever you want to learn do so, you never know how much it could change you and your life”
She finally listened to her, tonight could be the beginning of something new for her.
Cesar, the overactive fox terrier wouldn't stop barking. “Cesar, shush, I will be there in a minute to let you out” Agnes hated it when Cesar would make such a noise; he always knew she would let him out soon enough.
Agnes’s day was busy; She had her home to clean so she would feel comfortable having the quilting group here later tonight. She had a phone call from Amanda letting her know someone new was coming along to see if she would like quilting. It was always good having someone new come into their small group. At the moment the group has five people who attend on a Tuesday night. Everyone starts to arrive just before 7:00 pm to set up their machines and have a quick hot drink while we catch up on each other’s news from the week. Nicholas (nick to his friends) started to come along a few months earlier; being a strange man at forty- six. Agnes questioned why he came along in the beginning. He assured her he wanted to be different to the rest of his friends and try something that a man would never try. He soon showed promise as he picked up everything quickly.
Then there was young Miss Amanda; at the age of twenty- five she had completed her goal of qualifying as a chef, one night while working Gordon Ramsey came into the kitchen to meet the staff. She realized she couldn’t work for anyone who may be good at cooking but sucked with manners! She decided she would wait until she could own her own restaurant before she would get to serious. Agnes met her while shopping in the local fabric store; Amanda was trying to have her skirt fixed after the seam had come away. After ten minutes Agnes had managed to convince her to try patchwork; she has never looked back since that day. Agnes laughed out loud as she thought of this young woman who needed a man in her life to make her life more complete.
Cindy was someone who loved sitting within the group and sharing all her hidden secrets and everybody she had ever met. Agnes hoped that when Cindy married her husband Jack a year ago that she would settle down a bit; but that has yet to happen. Lisa is our red-headed wonder who will not allow anything unhealthy touch her lips. If she misses a day of exercise she will do twice as much the next day to make up for lost time! She has always wanted mister right to step into her life but tries to find him in clubs every Friday night. Her pet budgie “Ferret” keeps her happy until then. One area in quilting she’s good at is appliqué and makes us feel guilty as we enjoy our lunches that consist of cakes and yummy sandwiches with no bean sprouts.
Agnes had heard from Amanda, she knew nothing about sewing. Everyone will have to help guide her in like a baby trying to take their first steps in life; Lidia had no idea what she was in for.
Lidia’s day seemed long; she wanted to hurry so she could get to the fabric store and buy everything she needed for her new adventure. Amanda, one of the women who had been going for two years had given a list of what to bring. She had no idea what some of the items were or what to do with them; she was sure she could get help tonight. Finally 4:30 arrived; Lidia rushed out the door with the list; yelled for a taxi and managed to get there in time to buy all the supplies. Now all she had to do was have some tea and get to the home of Agnes Ward, the woman who teaches quilting. She started when she was 50 years old after her husband left her for another younger woman. Agnes obviously decided she wouldn't waste her time with worry and anger so she walked into the same shop and asked for details of the next class. That was twelve years ago; she’s well-known for her quilts and has won quilting competitions several years in a row.
Lidia wondered if she would ever be like that.
As Lidia stood in the colder air by the sea; a warming smile filled her face as she remembered on her time she had with this group. She felt grief in her soul; the group had stopped meeting ten years earlier. She wondered if anyone other than herself were still alive or was still making beautiful quilts. It was a shame they had stopped meeting everyone felt like family to her. Sometimes she was sure they were more of a family then her own family. Her mom would have been so proud of her for stepping out like she did, trying something new.
By 6 pm Lidia was starting to feel nervous, she had no idea how many people would be at this group. Would they be friendly or would they treat her as an outcast. She would find out soon enough.
Agnes and the rest of group were busy sharing about their week over a cup of coffee and muffins when the doorbell rang.
“Agnes, I think the new member has arrived, Lidia is it? Would you like me to get the door for you? Lisa asked knowing that Agnes was placing dishes in the sink.
“Yes please Lisa, tell her I will be there in a minute”
Lisa couldn’t wait to meet Lidia; she’s hoping to have someone like her in the group, someone who is a health nut and likes walks or jogging late at night. As Lisa opened the door surprised to see a woman standing there who didn't look like she belong in their group. “Hi, Lidia: my name is Lisa, here let me take those for you” Lidia had bags of equipment, she was about to drop some when Lisa offered to take them for her.
“Thank you, I thought I might drop something, maybe I need more hands in the future” The both of them laughed; “Being a quilter, said Lisa” means having several items to bring each week. When you’re about ready Lidia we can show you how to make a special quilters bag that will carrying almost everything you need, you won’t have any more than one bag with you then”
“That does sound brilliant thank you Lisa”
Lisa stepped out of Lidia’s way so she could come inside to meet the others. “Come on through Lidia everyone is here; “
“Agnes says she will be in the dining room shortly she is cleaning up after our drinks, would you like something to drink before start?”
“That would be thank you; I’d like a coffee with milk and two sugars” “Coming right up; take a seat, here let me introduce to everyone”
Lidia stepped into what seemed like a dining area. There was a huge table in the middle, two ironing-boards with irons on them and three other people who were chatting away until she walked in the room. Lidia placed everything on the floor next to an empty sofa and started to sit when Lisa took her arm and pulled her towards a young woman. “Lidia this is Amanda” Amanda this is Lidia” “Hi nice to meet you, I hope you enjoy being a part of our group”. Amanda stood to greet Lidia. She was tall and towered over her. The fear of meeting new people kicked in, Lidia could feel her cheeks heat up to the point where she felt like her knees would give in, having her wake up on the floor. How stupid would that look for her she wondered.
“Hi, Amanda” she whispered hoping this would be enough of an answer for her.
A man slightly taller than her stood up, raised his hand to shake hers and smiled; “Hi there Lidia, my name is Nicholas but my friends call me Nick, so please do call me Nick” She smiled her shy smile wondering how she could be a friend so quickly. “Hi Nicholas I’m mean Nick, please forgive me, I’m a bit nervous” Everyone laughed making her feel tenser; she wondered what could be so funny. “You’ll be fine Lidia; we are caring people here; before you know it you will feel like a part of this little family” “welcome to our group I’m sure you will like being here”
No sooner did he sit down when another woman stood up to greet her. She looked like she was in a hurry as she lunged forward with both of her hands she grabbed Lidia’s hand and shook her hand so fast she felt as if her hand would fall off. “Hi, my name is Cindy; tell me all about yourself where do you live? Are you from around here? I hope you like being here; everyone wants to know ALL about you” Somehow Lidia doubted this, and smiled to her with a frown added in not knowing what this woman would be like to trust with all her details. She seemed too forward for Lidia’s liking. Just then she saw someone else walking into the room. “Why hello there, you must be Lidia; my name is Agnes; after awhile when you feel comfortable you can call me aggie” Agnes took hold of Lidia and hugged her with a warm caring touch. She tensed up not knowing how to deal with someone who would hold her like this so quickly. “Hi, Agnes it’s wonderful to meet you, I have heard about your patchwork, how long did it take you to learn how to do this?”
“Honey, you’re’ always learning in patchwork you never stop” at that comment everyone was laughing and agreeing with her, except Lidia. She started to wonder what in the world she had gotten herself into.
“Come; sit down while you have your coffee. Tell us a little about you” Cindy and Amanda were talking when they stopped especially Cindy she wanted all the gossip she could get to share with her husband Jack later tonight.
Lidia sat down slowly not sure where she should start;
Her finger slowly worked its way up to her hair as she felt the butterflies flying within her stomach. She always twisted her hair when she was nervous. Today was no different for her.
She spoke about her love of books and of how she loved walks along the beach. Lidia’s voiced quivered when she told them how her mom had died when she was thirteen. “Lidia what happened to your mom?” Cindy couldn't help but ask. “If you don’t mind I’m not ready to share that much” Cindy sighed knowing there could be something of interest for her about this Lidia and her mom. “Well” said Agnes I think it’s time we do some work. Will everyone please take a seat at the table so we can get our blocks sewn together today?
An hour into the night Lidia was starting to see what they had to do with patchwork. Agnes showed her a simple pattern that makes a small bag to carrying some threads and needles in. Lidia hoped that after a few months she could move on to something a bit harder. She was in no hurry at this stage....