Kate sits at a table. On the table are skeins of embroidery floss and small cardboard “spools.” Kate checks the number of the floss, writes it on the spool, then pulls the paper rings off of one of the skeins of floss and finds one of the ends. She slides the floss end into one of the slits in the spool, carefully flattens it to the spool surface, then slowly winds the floss around the spool. 

She completes winding the embroidery floss on the spool and slides the end into the second slit in the spool. She sets the spool aside in a pile of other winded spools, then picks up another skein of floss and does the whole process over again while she speaks. 

Kate: A few days ago, I learned something about myself. Something painful and difficult to acknowledge. It put me in a dark mood for the whole day. 

Kate winds the embroidery floss. 

Kate: It settled in my face. My eyes and cheeks were scrunched like I was smelling acrid tar or enduring the loudness of an ambulance siren stopping at the same intersection where I was. 

Kate winds the embroidery floss. 

Kate: I ate to distract me from the dark feeling. Then, I drank to dull its sharpness. I watched a couple movies. Rear Window is a triumph of American cinema. These all worked somewhat, but only temporarily. I kept sliding back into the sludge. 

Kate winds the embroidery floss.

Kate: Walking was a little more successful. Air and movement have a way of clearing the mind, even though I definitely didn’t want to do it and I resisted the whole time. At the end of the walk, I reluctantly admitted I felt a little more even. A little less raw. 

Kate winds the embroidery floss.

Kate: What wasn’t hard for me to do was this. [Kate indicates the embroidery floss winding.] Sometimes I was super anal about getting the threads all lined up precisely. Sometimes I just gave up and wound it any old way as long as it all got on there. I let the floss slide through my fingers, felt it coil up neatly or messily, watched the way the sheen differed between the colors. 

When I was done with all the skeins, I was satisfied with my efforts. 

And the next day I didn’t feel quite so much like shit. 

Kate finishes winding this skein of embroidery floss, then puts the spool in the pile with the others.