Marietta looked over at her grandmother where she sat chewing the last of her lunch, propped up on a bank of pillows in her hospital bed, watching the television. She used to think the old woman could cheat cancer, like she cheated at cards, but alas, here she was about to have a beastly growth the size of a grapefruit removed from her body. She wiped her lips, dropped the napkin on her plate, brushed her hands off, and pushed the rolling tray away from her bed. Lifting the remote control, she flipped through a few channels before settling on a home improvement program. "...nothing but crap on the stupid box, but I like the company," she sighed, as she adjusted her quilted bed-jacket and pushed her pillows around a bit. Touching her hands to her luxurious bun of long, white hair, she tucked a few wispy pieces neatly behind her ears and flopped her hands in her lap, exhaling. "Okay...let's see what you've got."
With those words, Marietta's heart jumped unexpectedly in her chest, and she felt her cheeks turn pink as she rose from the chair, placing her beading down carefully on the seat. Keeping her head down, she moved the rolling tray with the remains of her grandmother's dinner on it to the end of the bed, out of their way, then smoothed out the blankets her grandmother had given a quick flick to clear of any food crumbs. Taking the white quilted batting from the bottom drawer of the bedside dresser, she spread it out over her grandmother's blanketed lap. She felt lightheaded as looked back towards the chair where her work was waiting to be placed before the discerning eye of the woman who had taught her her craft. "Well? Come on...what's a matter witchu, girl?" her Mayde sang to the tune of the Rolling Stones song Miss You. That made her smile.
"Mayde, you're nuts," she giggled, as her grandmother launched into a chorus of 'ooo's'. Picking up her beadwork, she felt her heart accelerate again as she turned bravely towards her fate and in one big, childishly enthusiastic step, placed the piece in her Mayde's lap. Mayde stopped singing immediately. She had a curious look on her face, as if she had been presented with something she wasn't sure how to react to, and therefore was not going to react in any visible manner whatsoever, past a slight furrow on her brow. Marietta held her breath. Years passed. Mayde's knowing hand reached out for the cloth, and she moved forward off the pile of pillows to lean over the piece so her old eyes could read into the pattern. Nodding once, slowly, she ran her fingertips over the face of it, and asked, "You're really branching off, here; must we leave so much behind to become who we are?"
Smiling, Marietta nodded fiercely, tears standing in her eyes. "That is exactly what I knew you were going to ask me, and yes...and also no. This is just one piece, and it speaks to that in me which needs release from all those traditions and patterns carried down from my ancestors, but now that I've done it, it's done. I like it, and it's fun, and I'd even recreate it for fun and profit, but as an artist, I've already grown past it, and I long for the depth and richness of the traditional. I can even see doing some sort of fusion of the two on the journey to discovering my own style within the genre."
Mayde snorted. "'...my own style within the genre.'" Then she threw her head back and laughed her expansive laugh, and Marietta snorted, too, after the initial shock of being laughed at wore off. "Ha ha ha! Listen to you, the academic! Seriously darling, I love it. It's brilliant. This is...this is out of this world. Wow! I love this bit here...and the colors! Mmm, it's delicious. How did you do this round part? And the story, talk to me about this, here...," she pointed to various areas of the canvas, indicating one aspect or another of the whole, and Marietta moved close, folding a leg under her to sit next to her grandmother on the hospital bed, answering every single question.