Lizzie; Sewing Up A New Life

The bus pulled into the station, my stop for the summer. I looked down from the bus seeing my older cousin looking for me. Abby was three years older than me, her and her mother were stuck with me when my Mother decided my summers were better spent with them. Ever since I was old enough to go to school I have spent the time in a boy’s boarding school. I presume my parents loved me, but presumptions and real life seldom jive. Mom was not hurting for money, so I figured that was why I was sent to a boarding school. My parents had divorced early in the marriage soon after I was born. I had a nanny to raise me, till old enough to attend school. Since money was not a problem a boarding school was chosen for me.

Ever since then I spent my time at boarding school until the summer break. The first several years my summers were spent at camp, then eventually with my aunt. She doted over me, for the first time I knew what it was like to be loved. I played with her daughter, her being the only other child in the area. We did everything together and became like brother and sister. Then when September came along, back to the boarding school. My aunt tried her best to get Mom to relent, but part of the separation papers included tuition for my schooling until College. Mom didn’t want to be bothered with me apparently and definitely did not want to upset the apple cart with regards to my schooling or the money coming in.

So I became a prisoner at the school until the next summer. It turned out I was one of the few that didn’t get to go home for the Christmas holidays. I was resentful at first, but later just accepted that until I graduated I was stuck in this crappy world. Today was the last trip home from that school, my aunts the destination. Since I was eighteen, I no longer had to submit to Mom’s wishes and since she never bothered to relate to me I went to my aunts. My aunt treated as if I was her child from the start, her making the trip to my school often to visit especially at the holidays, always with presents and snacks for later. In my eighteen years I never received a present from my Mom, either Christmas or my birthday. It was like I didn’t exist.

All of that was over now, Abby giving me a big hug, grabbing my meagre little suitcase from me and leading me to their car. I left most of my possessions at school, some of the other kids that had been abandoned in life would be able to take advantage of that clothing and some of my other personal effects.

As we pulled into the parking lot of her dress shop I let out a long sigh. The crap was finally over, now among ones that cared for me and loved me. Harriet came running out of the door, almost knocking me down. I got hugged and squeezed to death, but it felt so good. Abby had stopped on the way back and gotten some takeout, so we went to the back of the dress shop and ate lunch. Harriet and Abby knew not to ask about school, the memories of that place I was so trying to forget. Instead we talked about her shop and the things they were doing together. Together, that sounded so good.

I ended up taking a nap in the office, the last few days had been hard on me, the stress of my final exams and the thrill of leaving that damn school. The bus ride was twelve hours long, I didn’t sleep any just watching the miles pass by the window, miles away from the horror I endured for so many years.

I was shook awake so they could get me home. Oh that word sounded so good. I helped Harriet fix dinner, Abby sitting and watching from the bar in the kitchen. When I looked her way I always saw a smile, then as she got up to help set the table I received another big hug. I so dearly loved those hugs. The food was fantastic after my first summer with them I always looked forward to her cooking. When she was home Harriet always spent the time to teach me a little about cooking, a skill she thought everyone should be able to do.

We did talk a little about what I was planning to do with my life, but nothing was decided. The next morning I refused to stay home, I wanted to be with them, anywhere around them will do. They sewed most of their clothes themselves from patterns they had developed over the years. It was steady income for them, their previous customers coming back for a new style or their favorite design in a new color or fabric. There was a fabric store right next door to their shop, a perfect fit for both stores. I walked around the shop seeing what they offered, astonished at the quality of their offerings. I did make myself useful by getting lunch for them at a nearby deli.

By late that afternoon I had explored everything I could deciding to look at some of their patterns and fabric combinations that customers had picked out. The lights being turned out and their giggling brought me to my senses. I had been so engrossed I failed to hear then call me to come on it is quitting time. I helped again with dinner, this time getting a lesson in making meatloaf. We talked while the meatloaf baked, them asking me if I had decided what I might want to do. I surprised them by asking them if they will teach me to sew. Abby hugged me hard, apparently she had been watching me today and my interest in what they were doing. She told me she would teach me if I wanted.

Abby had taken over most of the sewing as Harriet waited on customers and helped them pick a pattern and material. The next day my lessons started, I was set in front of an older sewing machine off to the side of where most of the work was performed. I was given some scraps of material and a pattern and told to get busy. I was shown the basics, how to lay out the pattern on the material, and then how to pin the pieces together in preparation to sewing them. The she showed me how the machine worked, then left me to my own. I stared at her, you were supposed to show me. I was told to get busy, they will not pay any wages for loafers. I gave her another look, but she was already back to her own sewing.

I struggled through what she showed me, having to cut out several pieces again because I goofed up the first piece, Then I pinned them together matching up the pattern pieces at the appropriate places. It ended up with as many pin pricks in me as in the material. I worked through lunch trying my darndest to make something of this. I wanted to learn this, for reasons unknown at the time. It became an obsession with me, moving the pins to make the pattern pieces align like they were supposed to.

When I laid the first piece on the sewing machine to sew I almost sewed my finger to the material. Three hours later and a lot of frustration I was sewing the last piece of the skirt to the bodice. I let out such a groan after it was completed. Abby came over to see what I had accomplished, picking up the dress to examine it. She looked it over real well, every seam, every juncture of the material, everything. She left me sitting there as she went to show her Mom. They came back together, sat on either side of me and each grabbed a hand. After looking at all of the damage I had done to them they let out a collective sigh. “You are hired.” that was said in unison, as if they had practiced it for years.

From Abby I found out that I did real good, too good for being a newbie to sewing. One look at my hands and they knew that I was indeed an amateur. She had me hang it on a hanger, then she gathered up a few things and laid them on a table. She took off her dress and slipped my creation on. After it was straightened she showed me how to pin the hem. I had to do it several times before I got it straight enough for her. I ended up poking myself several more times as it was accomplished.

Then she slipped the dress back off and showed me how to sew the hem. Thirty minutes later it was done. She pushed me into their bathroom and told me to strip. Right before I entered I was handed a pair of panties. I gave her a look, but she shoved me the rest of the way in, closing the door behind me. I stared at the panties, then at the mirror. Abby was very direct, telling like it was all the time. I doubted I wanted to cross her so I eased off my clothes and slid the panties up my legs. I swallowed hard and stepped out of the bathroom, my face bright crimson. Before I knew what hit me she had the dress over my head. A belt was put around my waist to pull the dress in some and then she grabbed my male clothes and placed them by her sewing machine.

She handed me some other material and told me to get busy, they weren’t paying good wages for me to diddle. Just like that it was over. I stood there staring. “Get your ass in gear girl you have work to do.”

Story Incomplete At Present

© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker

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