Lia was so excited about learning to knit that she showed everyone she could possibly find what she'd accomplished. She did this in many ways, ranging in severity. For example, when she got home from Knitting Group on Wednesday, she instantly dashed over to her mom, who was folding laundry on the living room floor while watching some drama on Netflix, and showed her.
"That's very nice, honey. Where'd you learn to knit?" Her mom didn't seem as enthusiastic as she'd hoped. She was probably just unimpressed with the quality of knitting. But Lia would get better.
"Knitting group, duh." Lia giggled. "It's so much fun, and everyone is really nice. Well, except Jared but he doesn't say much so it's okay."
"You joined another club?" Now her mom looked concerned. She rested her hands, folding a striped pillowcase, on her lap. "How many is that now?" '
Lia's grin shrank a little. "Only five," she said. "Girls' golf and school newspaper and yearbook and speech and knitting group. Oh, and the club agaisnt animal abuse. So six."
"Do you really have time for all that and your classwork? You have this year and three more years after that in high school, that's plenty of time to do everything you want."
"Mom, it'll be fine. I can handle it, I swear." Her voice started to whine a little and she sat down on the nearest chair, stepping over piles of laundry. On the TV screen, two cars collided with a resounding crash.
"You're going to stress yourself out," her mom insisted gently. "And then everything is going to get bad again. You did so well over the summer, do you really want to repeat that?"
Lia crossed her arms. "Mom," she said. "I'm different now. I'm happy, I'm excersizing, and look, now I can knit to relieve stress. It'll all be okay."
"You can try all the clubs that you want," her mom said, resuming her folding. "But if it gets to be too much you're going to have to drop some, so don't get too attached."
"Fine," Lia said.
"And your grades better not suffer, remember they count towards college this year."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm going to go practice knitting."
Her mom didn't reply, she was rewinding her show to catch up on what she missed.
On Friday, Lia was excited for knitting club. She was going to have to leave early in order to catch her speech audition at 5:15, but she could make it. No worries. She was going to make so many friends in speech, and she could get better at talking at people, which was a very valuable skill to have.
She walked into knitting club to find Mika and Coach Drina chatting, Dan already knitting, still on that green thing (was it a sweater or what? It didn't really look like anything but complicated), and Bethany was back, also already knitting, hunched over a pile of a bunch of different shades of purpley knitting on her lap. Lia went and sat in the chair next to her.
"Hi, Bethany!" she said. "How are you?"
Bethany looked up, startled. "Oh, hi," she said. "I'm fine." Lia noticed her fingers kept knitting at the exact same speed even when she was talking and looking away, which she found impressive. It wasn't even like, just normal knitting, there were all kinds of fancy things and needles flying everywhere in there. Like, whoa.
"That's good. What'cha making?" Bethany stopped knitting and held it up for Lia to see. It was, so far, a triangle with the texture of a bunch of tiny dots. "Oh, cool. What is it?"
"It's a shawl," Bethany said. Then, she hesitantly offered it to Lia. "Feel it, it's soft."
"Ooh, what is that yarn?" Bethany shrugged. "Well it's soft," Lia said. "I just have this dishcloth thing but it's kind of...holey." She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her knitting with difficulty. The string seemed to be tangled up around all her notebooks, but she got it eventually and proudly showed it off.
Bethany nodded with a small smile. "I like the colors."
"Yeah, me too. Did you make one of these things when you learned to knit? Coach Drina says she always starts everyone with a dishcloth because it doesn't matter if you mess up a dishcloth."
Bethany shook her head. "My first project was a little square."
"Isn't that basically what a dishcloth is?"
"No," Bethany said. "The hospital was collecting a bunch of knit squares to stitch together into blankets for kids waiting for heart transplants so I learned how to knit and made a bunch of squares."
This was the most Lia had ever heard her talk, so she figured it was important to her. "Cool," she said. "Did the kids like the blankets?"
Bethany shrugged again. "I hope so," she said, and Lia understood that the conversation was over.
Lia decided that Bethany reminded her of a turtle. A nice little thing that was nice and all but was pretty antisocial and just kind of sat around a lot. She wondered what animal she would be. A horse, maybe? Or a hamster? Hamsters were cute. She used to have a hamster named Mr. McMuffins (because he looked like a fat little muffin top) but he choked himself to death trying to swallow a carrot whole, like a snake or something. Rest in peace, Mr. McMuffins. May your soul live on forever in Hamster Heaven.
Did animals each go to their own kind of heaven, or did they go to people heaven? Lia didn't know, but she heard something about the Pope saying that animals went to heaven, so she was optimistic. She wasn't Catholic, but figured that the Pope was a pretty important guy, so maybe he had some good ideas.
Knitting club went about as well as the ones before. Everyone (except Jared) seemed happy to have Bethany back. She said that she wasn't there Wednesday because she had youth group, and she didn't get in trouble for it, so that was good. Jared came in and sat in his same chair doing nothing at all. Lia didn't know why Coach Drina didn't just kick him out. It's not like he ever did anything. Plus, Lia had heard some stories about him around school and they weren't very nice. Had he really attacked the football coach for not putting him in the starting lineup at the homecoming game last year? And was he really kicked (literally) off of the wrestling team for being too agressive? Lia didn't know, but she desperately wanted to find out...if she could not be scared to talk to him. He was kinda...terrifying.
Well, as she figured it, he was apparently going to keep coming to the knitting group, so eventually he'd have to say something, right? Maybe she could even be friends with him...nah, that would never happen. Would it? Nah. No guy like him would ever be friends with a girl like her.
Anyway, knitting club went on for a while with some chatting but mostly quiet. And she only dropped a bunch of stitches twice, so her knitting was improving, too! Yeah, she liked knitting group. She could definitely make time for the meetings when there wasn't other stuff going on too. She could do this whole being involed thing. It would be part of the new high school Lia.
Soon, it was time for her to leave for her speech audition, so she gathered her things.
"Where are you going, Lia?" Coach Drina asked.
"Oh, I have a speech audition," Lia said. "So I've got to go now, but I'll be back!"
"Okay," the teacher said. "Good luck!" A few other people nodded slightly.
"Thanks!" she said, and left the room to go find the speech auditions.