The Skein

He couldn’t remember when he’d first begun weaving it.
He knew only that, improbable though it seemed now,
The skein had once been a fine, untangled and quite continuous thread
stretching right back into his childhood.

Yes, it had been fine, it had been continuous, and it had been untangled.
But now when he looked at it,
All he saw was a criss-crossed, untidy ball of wool, full of knots,
Of uneven thickness, and with loose ends protruding in
a hundred and one places where it had been cut and hastily retied,
half in panic, half in desperation.

In short, it was a hopeless mess.
It would be totally impossible for the most dexterous and skillful of
human hands to even begin to unravel it,
And certainly he did not possess those.
Then what was he to do?

He wished he could throw it away,
But he knew that was impossible.
He thought of hiding it,
Locking it away somewhere in a dark recess,
Or a half forgotten cupboard,
But that would never work either,
He knew that because he’d tried it before.
Someone always found it, and dragged it out into the daylight again
where other people stared at it, laughed at it, muttered about it
in conspiratorial whispers, and threw him accusing glances.

True, at one time he had hidden it successfully for almost a year,
But it had been a lot smaller then, and much less tangled.
No, he couldn’t hide it, not anymore.

He couldn’t disguise it either,
Not for any length of time.
Nor could he pretend it wasn’t his.
He’d tried that before as well,
But nobody ever believed him;
Even the most feeble-minded and credulous of his acquaintances
Seemed to know instinctively who had made the skein, and
to whom it belonged.

Finally, he realised he couldn’t do anything with it,
Anything at all.
He, and he alone had made it,
And now he he had to live with it, for the rest of his life.

But he did have one small consolation,
Over the past six months, the skein hadn’t grown anymore tangled,
And if he took great care, perhaps it might not ever.

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