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Purplelinda January
Purplelinda January

Short Story Competition RUNNER UP: Unravelled

After launching our Woolly Writer short story competition in issue 82 of LGC Knitting & Crochet, we were flooded with fantastic entries. The team at LGC HQ has thoroughly enjoyed reading each and every one, so thank you for sending yours in and taking part – it was a tough one to judge! We know you’ll love reading this runner up entry by Jean Davies from Canterbury. Stick the kettle on, put your feet up and enjoy.

Short Story Competition RUNNER UP: Unravelled


The man opposite pulled a pair of needles and chunky navy blue yarn from a weathered satchel. I noticed. I ought not to have noticed that his eyes were the exact same shade of blue as the yarn he was dexterously pulling from his bag. I ought not to have noticed. It’s not the done thing, is it,
looking at people on the Tube, even less to stare as long, slim fingers caress woolly fibres. I ought not to notice, not since my life has become unravelled, not since I lost Brett. I ought to be bound with the fibres of lost hope, lost love; encased in a garment of loss and sorry. Not noticing
how the young man opposite twitched an entrancing eyebrow as he concentrated on his work. My stop. Can I wait for him to finish the next row? Can I wait for him to complete another purl? I cannot. Work calls – the refuge for a broken heart. I leave.
Only I look for him the next day, and the next. I wonder how many rows he has completed, what he’s making, how he can be so still, so composed on a busy commuter tube train. And a man – knitting! What would my mother make of that? Well, she wouldn’t approve. Just like she didn’t
approve of Brett, with his Cockney charm and dodgy mates.
Then it’s Saturday, then Sunday. Two days when I don’t travel, don’t work, don’t see blue-eyed men with hands that use needles like playing a guitar. I mooch around my flat, tidy up, feed the cat. I half-heartedly pick up my own knitting from my work basket. But what’s the point of
finishing that intricate aran jumper for Brett? He’ll never see it now he’s walked away. I let it fall, like a deflated dream, into the work basket.
But I am up bright and early on Monday, yes indeed. Why do I take extra care with the way I dress, with my makeup? It’s not as though anyone can see me, stuck on the end of a phone in a call centre. I practise singing a little in the shower. It’s not because I’m happy, I just need to see if
I still have a voice after the enforced silence of a lonely weekend.
And he’s there. Not quite opposite this time, a few seats down. The same tatty satchel, holding a garment that has significantly grown since last I saw it. It’s the same lovely shade of blue as before, but what’s this? Is the mystery knitter venturing into some sort of pattern? In the middle
of the piece of knitting I make out two letters in bright red. Does he deliberately turn it so I can see it? He does. And the letters spell out ‘Hi’.
I answer the phone in a jollier voice than usual and after work I go for a drink with Jill, who I’ve been avoiding for ages. We don’t talk about Brett, or my mysterious knitter, but we chat and laugh and for some reason I feel happier. Then on the way home I take a detour I haven’t taken in ages.
It’s evening now and the shops are shut so I just become a window shopper in the alluring glow of my favourite yarn shop. Perhaps one day I’ll go in again. Perhaps I will choose some of that lovely fluffy pink yarn. My fingers feel the familiar itch to create and I know I am becoming myself again. I am re-entering the world after Brett.
I tell myself I won’t see old blue eyes every day. I tell myself the chances are I will never see him again. But I do. This time the piece has grown almost too big for the bag as his strong fingers ease it out. I can clearly see the skill with which he has incorporated another word into the
pattern, in a fetching shade of yellow this time. ‘Coffee?’ I smile.
Coffee with Matt, my charming knitter, led to dinner, the theatre, an arthouse movie. We talked and we laughed, especially how we met and Matt’s novel way of attracting the attention of the sad-eyed girl he saw every day on the Tube. And I forgot about Brett.
I haven’t seen the battered bag or the navy blue project for months when Matt appears on my doorstop one evening carrying the satchel. I throw my arms around him as he steps across the threshold. He laughs, disentangling himself from my embrace and reaches his long fingers into the
bag. The garment he draws out is finished. A jumper in just my size. ‘Hi’ and ‘Coffee?’ on one side, and on the back a huge purple heart with the words ‘Marry me?’
In answer I reach into my work basket and quickly unravel the jumper I had started for Brett. As the creamy yarn falls from my eager hands and spills out onto the floor it spells out my answer: ‘Yes’.

Read another runner up entry here and our winning entry here.

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