I knew that's what you'd say."
I didn't want to go to the knitting group at the bookshop yesterday. It's held on the last Tuesday afternoon of the month and I am supposed to "lead" it. Why I was chosen to do this is a mystery I haven't solved yet but it means I feel bound to attend. I feel I should go even when the weather is lousy.
Yesterday there was another good reason to go. I needed to get a nice card and have anyone who turned up sign it for the friend who has just lost her husband. She has not been at the group all year but people have been concerned for her.
I wondered whether anyone else would even turn up but, as I was pulling off my damp cycling trousers someone else arrived and then another and another.
There were five of us and then someone else arrived. She had not been at the last meeting. I thought she looked a little pale but it is winter here Downunder. She pulled out her knitting and the woman next to her asked what she was making. A hat...for herself.
Then she took a deep breath and said, "I'm starting chemo next week. She started to cry and apologise for crying. The woman sitting next to her put a hand on her arm and looked at me. I looked at our fellow knitter and said, "That's what we're here for."
It was then she said, "That's why I came. I knew that's what you'd say."
And we will be there for her. It is what we are there for. It's not "just a knitting group". There have been other people come and go in the group. One of the women who comes is in the very early stages of Alzheimer's. She gets confused over her knitting at times. Several women who come and go live alone. They just want some company.
We mostly talk books, news, a bit of politics, gardening, and knitting. They ask after the Senior Cat - most of them have met him - and they ask after others. They are worried that someone else hasn't been for a while. This time I could tell them she's okay but under a bit of stress right now.
I came home and told the Senior Cat what had happened this time. I showed him the card. I'll get another member of the group to sign it today. He was silent for a moment and then he nodded and said, "Yes, that's what the group is there for."