The Elephant in the room

My dear friend Caroline made me a quilt. Out of the blue, sitting in Maldoons, I was fumbling around with the realisation that she’d been beavering away in secret, planning the design, sourcing meaningful fabrics, spending her money, giving up her time, digging deep into her reserves of patience to do the binding…all for me.

I knew how long it took and how costly it was because I’ve made a few myself. And there was a letter too, explaining the different bits and pieces – poppies, London buses, beach huts, ketchup, some guitars to remind me to ‘keep rockin’ … all put together to celebrate Britain and our friendship, to remember funny things like our deeply-held conviction that us wives and mums should wear capes. She called herself a “Cowardy-Custard” because she was kind of avoiding a final good bye. And there he was, larger than life – the Elephant in the room: the fact that I am leaving.

“Trumpety Trump.” He spun around the cafe, trampling our feet, knocking the little tables spinning with his enormous arse, sending cups and plates smashing onto the floor. Teacakes, poached eggs, gingerbread men – all mushed up in amongst the debris and doused with coffee. Sometimes he just stands in the corner and I notice the odd fly or get a faint whiff of dung, but this time Caroline had acknowledged him and he was on the rampage.

Jesus said “Truly I tell you no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age; homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10 v 29-30) ‘Hmmmmm, not sure about the persecution part to be honest Jesus, and also can I add ‘friends’ to that list although I cannot for the life of me see how you can clone the kind of remarkable women I know and call my friends? No offence, please and thank you etc Amen.’

The Elephant was soon safely put back in the corner again, with a patchwork bag over his head. It had to be so, because we only had a little while before we went our separate ways back to family life, our imaginary capes flapping as we went. Two blazes of defiant red, extra-taut, choking us a little that morning.