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Library: Knotwork


Author: merja
Date:Dec 8 2005

When we married, my husband and I tied knots in ourselves and in each other.
   I am not from around here, and to me all knots mean special things. Where I
come from, one moves through a lacework of knots, and one learns how knots
limit one. I came here to get away from knotwork, and yet, four years after I
arrived, I consciously brought my skills into play, and crafted a tangle to
bind two people together, as local custom seemed to dictate.
   I thought the knots meant the same things to my husband that they meant to
me. We had been seven years married, and somewhere along the way our wild
mutual madness faded into something I found comfortable in its complex
samness. To me, the knots remained, even though the passion had died. To my
   "So Nuala, what's this we hear about your husband?" Marie asked me when I
joined my three best friends for our weekly Tuesday lunch at Le Chevre et Les
Trois Famboises. This week Marie's hair was purple and shellacked into a
fountain of lazy curls. She was a live mannequin in the window of the largest
department store in town, and this weeks the clothing she advertises was
severe in pink and black. Everyone in the restaurant stared at her, which gave
the rest of us a measure of anonymity.
    I put my beaded purse on the table beside my place setting. "So what is it
you hear?"
   Anika, who worked in the same corporate office as my husband-in fact, she
was the person who had introduced me to my husband, said, "We hear he takes
Jacy Hines, one of the associates, everywhere with him."
"He took her shopping at my store," Marie said, "'I saw them come in together
from my window, and later I asked the clerks where they went. To fishing
equipment. When's the last time a man asked a woman to look at fishing
   "Perhaps she knows something about it." I had met Jacy at one of the firm's
office parties. She was a small pigeon woman, comforting and round, with short
brown hair and bright brown eyes, ruddy of complexion, and neat of hand, and I
had liked her. She hadn't borne any of the marks of threat one learns to look
for when one leases her husband to a job for the bulk of the day. Jacy and I
had discussed knotwork and the mysteries of coffee. If she had had the energy
of a spouse-taker, wouldn't I have felt it? I had given up several of my
special senses when I bound myself, but not that one.
   "He took her out to buy you a birthday present last week," Anika said.
"Last year he sent his secretary. This year he took Jacy, and they shopped
   My birthday celebration would happen on Saturday. It was something Hugh and
I had always did alone together. I hadn't realized that selected my gift was a
task he delegated, the gifts I have received from him had been sensitive and
thoughtful, and I had been touched.

   I had not smelled them closely enough. The stink of someone else must have
been on them. I used my eyes too much these days, and I had lost some of the
vital information streams I used to fish.
   'He took her to coffee yesterday in my restaurant,' said Polly, who owned a
diner two blocks from Le Chevre. We never met at Polly's for lunch, and she
liked to get away and eat somebody else's food once in a while. "They sat on
the same side of the booth instead of across from each other."