The Madam and the Seamstress

Impatiently, the Madam awaited.

Time―this insolent, worn-out thing―ran out amid sewing accessories, with the delicate back-and-forth of the simpleton seamstress' rough hands, in between fine fabric patches and forgotten threads, needles, and pins lying around the workbench table and the cold floor.

The humble seamstress fought the weight of her eyelids, which insisted on closing under the weight of misfortune, absence, pressure and, above all, the durability of meanings inhumanly imposed on her by life―her true executioner.

As the arrogant Madam huffed and puffed impatiently, images rushed in at the speed of the winds that shake the three branches outside, being devoured by the destructive elements. Jewels, fake shiny stones, gazes, beautiful dresses that could make heads turn, and parts that needed to be played. Before the day bade goodbye, everything would be shattered with the fat, vile delight of this feeling of victory―but over what, exactly? Everything would be left floating on the broth of consciousness and ruminated for days, until the next adventure reserved for this very poor woman...

What the noble Madam did not know was that those simple hands that created art from fine riches, which would cover (or not) her own imperfections, were also capable of giving life to letters, images, dreams, and sorrows.

That soul who sewed fine fabric, giving it shape, shine, and elegance after an exhausting afternoon, was badly paid by those plump hands that tossed the money at the workbench table covered in needles and pins. For a few seconds, the seamstress forced herself to open her weary eyes and reflect on the meaning(less) of life, letting her gaze  fall upon the loose threads and fabric patches that no longer had any use, perhaps much like herself.

Without getting up, her body heavily leaving over the sideboard that supported her, the artist of stitches opened her pale mouth, lips marked by the wrinkles of age, and weaved her venting through the imperfect lines of time: “Poor me! I lost my thread of thought... How could I ever stitch together these patches to conclude the imperfect sewing of my life?”

From a dark corner of the room, Death was mocking her with hungry eyes.

SANDRA DATTI was born in her beloved Santos, São Paulo, in 1971. She graduated in Physical Education and coordinates sports events for the Santos City Hall.

She also graduated in Languages and Literature and is slightly obsessed with Clarice Lispector, having written a college thesis about one of her works.

Sandra has been writing since she was 13 and plans on putting something together about her home town one day.

She has participated in several literary competitions and won second place in the short story category of the 2nd International Prose and Verse Competition organized by the Latin Cultural Society of Brazil in Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo.

One of her story, featured on CBSS as "Labor" and originally entitled Trabalho de Parto, was highlighted in the city and regional lists of the 2011 and 2012 São Paulo Cultural Map project.

Translated by