Grammy’s too proud to fix my dress. The nap ain’t right, and now the cord of my corduroy jumper’s all crazy-cat, lines moving this way and that, diagonal and horizontal, like the haphazard pattern in a shag rug. She says it’s innovative. I say she’s going blind. Grammy’s sewing skills used to be the best in town—she’d been a tailor for Lenti’s Fine Clothing, when she was younger, and on our downtown walks we’d pop in to watch her hem (and haw, Pepere would joke), tuck and pin, make all the ladies look lovely and fashionable, the men elegant in their suits. “The secret,” she’d tell me, talking through the two straight pins that never left the corner of her mouth, “is in the tailoring.” And now that Pepere is gone, it’s just Grammy and me, and a cigarette has replaced her straight pins and the TV is always on and most of my clothes are secondhand and tired, clothes my mother once wore when she was my age. So this afternoon I take off the brown jumper and scissor along the seamlines, along the collar, until it is eight scraps of brown fabric, which I take to her, sitting on the sofa, smoke curling around her bathrobe and curlers, and say “show me how to fix it.”

 

 

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Erica Plouffe Lazure is the author of two fiction chapbooks, Heard Around Town and Dry Dock. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Southeast Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Greensboro Review, Fiction Southeast, Flash: The International Flash Fiction Journal, and elsewhere. She lives and works in Exeter, NH.