to keep you warm by typicalquirk

10 Jan

Monday

Hammond walked in the door and breathed a sigh of relief. His job as a mailman was not particularly difficult, but the monotony got to him some days. Most days. Especially today. His mind was not focused on work so much but on the fact that today would have been his tenth wedding anniversary. Would have been. If only he would have been more attentive, would have given his all, would have put his relationship first. But that didn’t happen, and he caught Elinor fucking his co-mailman Jeffrey on their bed. Elinor didn’t apologize, just said “Well at least you know now,” and walked out the door.

Hammond grabbed himself a cold one out of the fridge and sat down in the old tattered armchair. He had kept the house, and all of the memories. Elinor had left the majority of her things their three years ago, and Hammond didn’t have the heart to throw them out. The curio cabinet full of ceramic cats stared at him every time he walked into the kitchen. Somehow this made him feel less alone.

Hammond took a sip of beer and opened the drawer in the table next to him. He pulled out the green felt case where he kept his crochet hook. That night before he passed out from the beer and the pain, he crocheted six granny squares.

Wednesday

Elinor got home from work and checked the mail. There was a rather thick envelope. Not again. But of course again. These packages came every couple of weeks. She climbed up the stairs to the apartment she shared with Jeffrey. He wasn’t home yet. She went to her bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed and opened the package. Six granny squares. She tucked them into the night stand, with the other three hundred and fifty, along with the letter that said: When there are four hundred of these, stitch them together and you will have a beautiful quilt. She briefly wondered who was sending them to her, but she had things to do. She had to have supper ready by the time Jeffrey got home; she had to do laundry; she had to watch Oprah that she had recorded. She was busy.

That night, Hammond came home. He took off his uniform, put on an undershirt and boxers and made himself a simple supper of beans and toast. He sat in his tattered chair. Halfway through the second granny square, he had a massive coronary. Dead.

Friday

Mrs. Bennett, the landlady found him two days later when she went to get his rent check. He was never late on the rent, she mused. He was dependable. Groceries on Tuesday, vacuumed Saturday, went to the dentist every six months. It was going to be hard to find a tenant as good as him. Nobody was responsible anymore.

Monday

When Elinor got home there was a thin letter in the mail from Hammond’s attorney.  Elinor sat on the side of her bed, where she always read the mail, and opened the letter:

Dear Ms. Ford,

This letter is to inform you of the passing of your ex-husband Hammond Short. He passed away last week. I was instructed to send you a letter if anything happened to Mr. Short, He wanted you to know that he loved you very much. The granny squares that you have been receiving in the mail are from him. He said he didn’t keep you warm in his marriage, but he wanted to. He wished he would have. He had no other assets, but wanted you to know that he always loved you.

Mrs. Bennett was also wondering if you could come and pick up your ceramic cats at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

Morgan Pruitt, Esquire.

Elinor put the letter away with tears streaming down her cheeks. “You were pathetic,” she whispered. “Pathetic.” She did not have supper ready by the time Jeffrey got home that night.

Wednesday

It was chilly at the cemetery. Hammond’s plot was in a crowded area. Only eight people were at the ceremony. It truly did reflect his life. Lonely. Elinor showed up in a cab shortly after the ceremony was over. She walked over to the casket that had not yet been buried. She was carrying a large duffel bag. She knelt by the grave, opened the bag, and pulled out the incomplete blanket that she had sewn together the previous night. “ You needed fifty more squares Hammond. Fifty. You never finished everything. But you tried.” She placed the multi-coloured blanket over the casket. “To keep you warm.” And she walked away. She had to have dinner ready by six or Jeffrey would be pissed.

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5 Responses to “to keep you warm by typicalquirk”

  1. ingridfnl January 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Wow… how beautiful… I was teary by the end.

  2. jadamthwaite January 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Oh, how sad. I love the idea of Hammond sending Elinor the squares through the post. I had been thinking along the lines of him posting something too but I couldn’t put my finger on anything that was quite right. This is a great idea though!

  3. typicalquirk January 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    Thanks. I am glad you liked it.

  4. eli January 11, 2010 at 7:00 am #

    If I may quote the Freelance Police:

    Sam: Brutal.
    Max: But very true to life.

  5. phoenix.writing January 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    I was worried that she was going to just dump the squares in the grave; taking the time to stitch it together and leave it to keep *him* warm really changed the tone for me. Depressing but with that gleaming edge of hope.

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