Nimble fingers worked the stitches. Her fingers ached but she had promised to have the rug completed by the wedding date. The artist had been stern about the quality. Like she made junk? Her workmanship was the best in all of Switzerland. THAT is why he had come to her in the first place. Did he think she was NOT going to do her best?
The old woman had met the man in her studio months before the wedding. Moeuhane Sandalwood was his name. He liked to be called Moe. When he phoned her before their meeting he said he had a piece of artwork that he wanted an exact replica of made into a rug. She told him she had to see the artwork before she could give him a price. He said whatever it cost he would pay. It was for someone very special... his niece.
She looked at the artwork. The design was complicated. It would take all of her time to finish it for the wedding but she could do it if she worked day and night. He accepted her price all too quickly and now as she worked the rug she wished she had asked for more. She had not slept much these last few months and she was tired and over worked.
Moe was nervous the day of the wedding. The old woman had promised she would have the rug ready. She was still finishing up the stitching when he called her that morning. He knew it was a big job but she HAD promised. It was still a few hours til the wedding so she was not late yet... but... she was cutting it close.
He fastened his tie into its usual knot of a bow. Oh how he wished his niece, Celia were here. She tied his bow better than anyone. She was a special one. He felt more like her father than her uncle. His brother and sister-in-law had left him to raise her in their will when they died in a train wreck those many years ago. He didn't know anything about raising children let alone a girl. But when the will was read at their wake and he saw her looking up at him with her baby blue eyes what more could he do? She had no one else. He was family. He HAD to take her in. He was a bachelor but he did the best he could. Now it was her wedding day.
The bride walked down the staircase and Moe's breath was taken away. She was so lovely. He had done a great job raising her and she had picked a boy he liked to marry. Times would be tough for them but he would be around to help if they needed him to.
"Uncle Moe... Come let me fix your tie," Celia said. Moe was speechless as he stared into her blue eyes. My time had gone so quickly. One moment she was a little girl the next a woman getting married. A light flashed him back to reality. The photographer had snapped a photograph. "There... that's better... you look handsome as always Uncle Moe." He kissed her on the cheek and another flash went off.
Soon everyone was off to the church. In the back of his mind Moe was starting to worry. He had not heard from the old woman in hours. He would call her again after the ceremony. They had some time before the reception. Now he would concentrate on his duties. He had to walk his niece down the aisle. A big responsibility. He grabbed her arm and patted her hand and smiled his approval as they walked together to greet her groom.
The wedding ceremony was long as is all Catholic weddings. Moe's mind wandered to the rug and how it was coming along. A few more hours and he would present it to his niece and her new husband... He hoped! Still no word from the old woman. The receiving line took forever to greet everyone and then there were the formal pictures to be taken. Before he knew it the reception was about to start and Moe still had not heard from the old woman. Then... he got the answer he'd been waiting for. The rug was on its way to the reception. He had not seen it so he would be as surprised as his niece.
As Moe stood waiting for the package to be brought in to the reception hall his heart raced. Had the old woman captured his artwork as he had envisioned? Would Celia like it? He felt bad at having to lie to her about her favor artwork of his being sold, but the old woman needed it for the rug. Moe hoped Celia would forgive him for that little lie. Her face had gone blank when he told her, and he's sure he saw a tear in her eye when he told her the news. Questions flooded his mind. They would all be answered in a few short moments.
Two men laid the large package on the floor. Uncle Moe gave a speech. The room was silent with anticipation of what the gift could be. Celia read the notecard and smiled at him with tears in her eyes. Her new husband handed her his handkerchief. Her Uncle nodded to them that it was ok to open the package and before he had lifted his head they were tearing into the wrapping. All eyes were on the happy couple and their present. The package unwrapped; the delivery men unrolled the rug. It was SPECTACULAR!!! Moe was surprised at the quality of the workmanship. He was pleased. Everyone ooo'd and ahhh'd.
Celia cried when she saw the image on the rug and Moe felt a tear run down his cheek too. He told her he had to tell her that her favorite artwork of his was sold, so that he could have the rug commissioned. The rug maker needed it to make an exact copy. Celia gave her Uncle a hug and told him it was ok. She loved it. It was her favorite of all of his artwork... and now it was hers. To enjoy forever!
The next day Moe went to the old woman to pay her for her work. He gave her an extra bonus because it was of such great quality. The old woman just smiled at him. She was proud of her work. She had made it to last and she knew that the rug would be around for many generations to come.