As he began to count, memories flooded back to him.
One, two, three…
Ferris walked up to his mother, watching her skilled hands fluidly work on another tiny square in purple yarn. Just as soon, she was done, and she put the crochet hook and as-of-yet unfinished blanket back in its box. She had only done one square that day, a small portion of the whole, just as she had every other day he could remember seeing her working on the blanket.
As she closed the box, he put his hands on top of it, looking down at the beautifully-decorated box that she kept her prized blanket in. Printed on its surface were delicate flowers and the glow of sunshine. “Hey, mom?”
She smiled at him, speaking softly. “What is it, sweetie?”
“Why do you only make one square every day when you work on that blanket?”
There was a pause – and then she sighed, leaning over to pick him up, placing him in her lap. “Do you know what that blanket is?”
He shook his head.
“It’s my good days blanket,” She explained. “For every good day, I make a new square. That’s why I only make one new square for a day.”
One-hundred and one, one-hundred and two, one-hundred and three…
Ferris came home that day cold, throwing his backpack and his snow-saturated clothes to the floor to change into his warm and dry pajamas. Then, he huddled up on the couch, trying to get warm while he watched the television. He asked his father for a blanket, but was told that all of them needed to be washed. What a bad day to have no throws around…
His mother came in, holding her special blanket. She threw it over him, revealing a sizable blanket of small squares. Then, she sat down next to him and made a new square.
“Mom?” He asked. “The weather’s horrible out. Why are you making a new square?”
She smiled at him. “It’s a good day because I could keep my little boy warm.”
Two-hundred and one, two-hundred and two, two-hundred and three…
Ferris closed the door behind him to escape the noise.
Christmas reunions were always busy at his mother’s house. His cousins would come, bringing their friends, spouses, and children, along with a great assortment of sweets and wrapped gifts. They would go around, talking to each other, playing games, having fun. He wasn’t much of a social butterfly, unlike them – having been an only child – and once the greetings were done, he would get away to a quiet room to read until the time came to eat supper or unwrap presents
The only sound in the room was the creaking of a wooden chair. Looking up towards the noise, he saw his mother sitting in it, adding another square to that blanket of hers. She’d needed to upscale to a bigger box since the last time he’d visited; even though he only saw one corner of the blanket, he could tell that it had become massive, and she was using red yarn now, having switched from the purple yarn she’d used since he was small.
“Hi, mom.” He said, smiling.
She looked up at him, slowly at first. She took a moment to adjust her glasses, smiled and nodded back, and then went to put the blanket away. “Hi, Ferris. How’s the party?”
“It’s nice… But noisy.” He took a gander around at the small room; a bedroom in brown colors, nice and tidy. “You don’t mind if I read a book here for a moment, do you?”
“Of course not, sweetheart.”
“Thanks,” He replied, sitting down on the bed to open up his book. Beginning to read, he asked, “Hey, mom, are you ever going to finish that blanket? You’ve been working on it for as long as I remember. Will it ever be finished?”
She smiled brighter. “I’ve been working on this blanket since I was eighteen, son. And I’ll work on it till the day I die.”
Three-hundred and one, three-hundred and two, three-hundred and three…
Ferris gave up trying to count the squares. There were just too many. He’d had to start over ten times now, and he wasn’t going to start over thirty times trying to count the thousands of squares on his late mother’s blanket.
He looked over it, seeing the colors she’d used over the course of her life. The yellows she’d used in her teenage years, the greens in her early adult life and the blues in her early marriage. The purples she’d used after Ferris was born, and the reds after he’d moved out.
He looked at the first purple square and sniffed. He remembered his mom telling him that she’d made that square the day he was born; that it was a very special square. He hugged the blanket and smiled.
The funeral was held just a month ago. The realization that his mother was gone was finally sinking in, and it taunted him, filled his nights with restless tossing and turning. The familiarity and warmth of the blanket bloomed inside him and soothed his heart. He’d needed this catharsis; to know that she’d had a good life.
Deciding that he didn’t want to put it away just yet, he took the blanket out of its box and put it over his bed.
He slept like a baby that night.