In my panic I could not fathom how to unhitch the needle piercing my finger to the sewing machine. Instead, I call my daughter to fetch a neighbor.
My neighbor, fresh from her garden, takes in the scene, calls for a screwdriver, and then turns the sewing machine's wheel upward-- so simple and yet it did not occur to me to do this. I stop her from dialing, preferring to dole out the pain myself.
Turning the wheel bit by bit, I release myself from the machine. Free at last is a premature thought as we stare at the needle stuck through the middle finger of my left hand. My thoughts drift to stories of Indians pierced by arrows-- broken off at the shaft so as not to lose blood and continue their journey.
The neighbor positions my hand at the edge of the sewing table and presses along side of my injured finger, saying, "Pull straight up." I tug at the needle, feeling painful friction. She grasps the thread underneath my finger and pulls it free, "to reduce the resistance," she explains to my face a-grimace. She drops a blood tinged beige thread.
We stare again at the needle in my flesh. With no choice, but less resistance, I pull, slow and steady. The freed needle lays beside the machine. How long will it be before I return to sew?
Trying to catch the edge of the bunny's ear, I misjudged the distance between the needle and the seam. My corrected vision is more for general viewing, not close up work. Time for those glasses that perch at the ends of so many middle aged noses.
Holding firm pressure, my finger blanches and the pain lessens. My neighbor turns off the iron and covers the sewing machine for me. The abandoned needle reminds me that short cuts are not a good idea and that precision has its merits.
Later, my husband asks, "Did you take a picture?" A friend, still later, at a party laughs at my response, "Wasn't even a thought," reflecting the priority of suffering before art.