Wool is bought in a shop. It’s white and soft. It’s going to become a cardigan for a little girl to wear on her Holy Communion day. Two large balls are bought and a pattern chosen. They are paid for and carried home in a brown paper bag, placed inside a little shopping bag that rolls along its wheels behind its owner.
The TV plays inside and a man watches soccer. He shouts at the referee and lets his tea go cold, making another one at half-time. The woman has had a long day. She has cared for her daughter and made dinner for her growing family. She had to walk home from the shops, dragging her food shopping behind her. She rises from her chair and searches for the brown paper bag.
Work-worn hands count stitches on a knitting-needle. An eye flicks to the clock on the wall, timing the apple pie in the oven. The needles click-click and the wool spins in its ball, the hands moving swiftly all the while. The referee makes a mistake and her husband shouts.
A child is strapped in the back seat of a car. She hopes there will be a choc-ice for her in Grandma’s house. She knows the men will be watching the TV. Grandma will be busy talking all the time, and sometimes to the grown-ups. Then she will give the little girl some toys. There is a big teddy at the house. There is a football too. She might let the little girl help with the washing line; Grandma has wooden clothes-pegs, and a washing-line that moves up and down. She has a big, green watering can too.
The little girl is all in white. She is wondering where her Grandma is. She is late. All the other girls from school are in white too. The little girl likes her cardigan and the bow on her head. She will get to say a Prayer of the Faithful. She can’t see her parents in the Church, but h er Daddy is tall, so she looks for his head. Her Grandma and Granda walk up the church just as the priest walks out. Later, they all take photos on the big steps outside the church.
A girl fiddles with mascara. She has slept in and had a lovely, lazy morning. Her exams are finished. She will go into town and meet her friends. She doesn’t know what to wear, but is grateful she doesn’t have to wear her uniform. Searching on her top shelf in the press, her hand touches something soft.
The girl sits down and orders a hot chocolate. Her friends compliment her new cardigan. ‘It’s old,’ she tells them. She speaks to her Grandmother on the phone and tells her what she found, and hears her Aunty shouting in the background. She passes on her friends’ compliments. Her Grandmother can’t knit anymore; it hurts her hands.
A little girl tries on a white dress. She is excited. She looks like a princess. It will soon be the day to wear this dress into school. Her Mam makes some fairy wings from an old coat-hanger. The little girl helps to put some glitter on the wings. Her Mam does not want her to be cold, so she gives the little girl a white cardigan for under the wings. She explains that little angels have to keep warm because it can be cold up in the sky in the clouds. The little girl practices her songs for her Mam.
A lady is strapped into the passenger seat. She can’t walk very fast. She feels very cold inside the building and finds the seats very low. ‘It will only take about half an hour’ she is assured. The old lady does not believe what she sees, and feels the wool. She recognises the pattern. She will tell her friends in the Lady’s Club just how long her knitting lasts.
By Hazel Doyle