I often think about all the loose threads I throw away. How many times I’ve cut the circulation in my thumb whilst pulling a stubborn cotton thread off the hem of a sleeve. The throbbing sensation as the blood charges back into my finger like commuters cramming onto the tube at rush hour. Those small strings floating to the floor or sticking to a strangers jacket. How careless I am with something that should be essential to the design as I flick it off my fingers. How many times I’ve pulled too hard and made the fabric bumpy and wrong, leaving a permanent kink in the folds of my shoulders and seams.
I remember watching my mother sew a button back on her blouse, how simply she picked it off her lap, held it up to me with a smile and said, “fixed!” If I were made up of stitches, which ones would come loose? Would the memory of my first kiss, a pink cotton thread end up stuck to the back of a businessman? Or the green weave of my first day of school find itself at the back of the washing machine? I’d gladly give the memories of hangovers and embarrassment over to the fates of a snag but would that make the fabric scrunch up? Would I look less complete? I think that’s why my mother tells me off for pulling. She rolls her eyes and scorns, “Just use some scissors.” Because she knows we need all our threads, we need all those stitches of memories, friends, lovers. We have to resist the temptation to discard them, that they make us. Because some things, your mother can’t sew back together.