One Frayed Corner
By Stephanie Haddad
The moment I saw the blanket, I loved it. Mama found it at the bottom of the bin, hidden beneath the donated coats, just one frayed corner sticking out. It was blue and soft, a well-worn square of cotton and wool.
It was also warm. The warmest blanket I’d ever held.
“Here, Chloe,” Mama said. “Someone nice wanted you to have this.”
I swept the soft fibers across my cheek, happy to have something just for me. The hunger in my belly, the fear in my heart, both disappeared as I clutched the tender cloth to my chin.
“I love it,” I whispered, thrilled by the fabric’s absorption of my breath. Mama smiled and kissed my forehead, shooing me back to our corner of the shelter.
That night, I slept well, tucked into my fuzzy blue cloud. I was protected from the chilling draft and the other children’s muffled sobs as they in fright, clutching clumpy, tear-stained pillows in their fists. I slept soundly until breakfast.
With my blanket around my shoulders, I savored every bite of my toast and butter and pretended my water was creamy milk. This blanket had enough magic in it to make my whole life better, and Mama should know how it felt.
“Mama,” I said changing into my other jeans. “You need a blanket too.”
“I have one already.” She pointed to our cot on the floor and the thin, scratchy blanket on top. With my blanket, I could be warm and happy, maybe even save us from this awful place. Hers was nothing compared to mine; it couldn’t even stop her from crying at night.
“That’s no good. I’ll make you one. You’ll see.” She smiled kindly, but she didn’t believe me, I could tell. I would prove her wrong.
Her blanket should be bigger than mine, so I searched all the donations to gather material: ripped sweaters and scrap fabrics leftover from the unwanted goods of the better-off. One of the volunteers found me a needle and thread just the right size for my small fingers, and I started working.
It took a long time. For days, I worked as long as we had sunshine on our corner. I sent Mama away so she wouldn’t see, and then I would hide it beneath the cot. She couldn’t see it until it was ready.
When I finished, I stretched the blanket out flat onto the cot. It was so big it folded over once and still fit across! I admired my crooked, misshapen handiwork. My creation wasn’t blue and soft, or well-loved like my blanket, but it was warm. The colors and the fabrics didn’t match, but I thought it was beautiful.
“For you, Mama. I made it with one frayed corner, just like mine has.”
I watched Mama’s face closely, as a single tear fell from her eye. She reached out and pulled me against her chest, hugging me tightly. She sniffled once, then said, “It’s perfect, sweetheart.”
Stephanie Haddad writes fiction while living and working as a freelance writer in the Boston area with her husband, their dog and their toddler. Her work has appeared in New Hampshire Writers, The Write Place at the Write Time, City Lines Magazine, The Broken Plate at Ball State University, and has won several awards at Notes & Grace Notes. She has been writing since age seven, but also enjoys many other creative hobbies including knitting, quilting, baking and acting. Stephanie graduated from Bentley University with a bachelor’s degree in business communication. She is currently working on her third novel while completing her master’s degree in education. To learn more about Stephanie, visit her website or blog.