I don’t know how old this box is and I’m not sure I want to know. When Lex moved in, he had more boxes than I ever could have imagined and yet I should have expected it. He travelled the world, he stayed in different countries, he has summer homes in different countries. To this day, we still have a few of those boxes in an empty room we haven’t found a use for yet and now and again when I have nothing better to do with my time, I pluck one of these boxes out and I go through it. Whatever I find that I can put away somewhere, I put away, the rest I put back into the box with a note somewhere on it that it’s not as full. The next time I open a box, if there’s some stuff left in there that can fit in another box, I switch it around. It helps with their numbers.
This one box though, I really don’t know how old it is. It was hiding behind the rest of the boxes. It was dusty in a bad way and I’m sure the little holes in it are from buggies or something else having a munch at the cardboard.
“Lex?” Last I checked he was cleaning out his work room so he could get some new equipment installed, the door wasn’t closed when I walked by it so I know he should at least be aware of the sounds as they travel through the whole floor.
It takes a few moments but eventually he steps up to the room and peers in quietly with a quirked brow. I roll my eyes at him and motion him closer with a chuckle. I swear at times I think he’s allergic to dust for how well he manages to avoid it. I do most of the cleaning and vacuuming, at least the dry-based cleaning. He’s good at washing windows.
“How old is this?” He looks over my shoulder a moment and peers at the box. His lips settle into that wry little look I’m still not used to looking at and, instead of answering me, he settles next to me and pulls the top open carefully.
“The box isn’t half as old as what’s inside.” Is what he says as carefully he pulls out something. I’m not sure what it is, it’s wrapped in a large amount of material, silk maybe. It has seen better days. “This brings back old memories.”
He settles whatever it is on his lap and he carefully unwraps it. Once the piece is freed from its cloth prison, it looks to be an old, worn sort of uniform. Not quite he ones seen in the army, something older. Army perhaps but it looks closer to stuff I’ve seen in old Victorian times. I gape at it for a moment, not really daring to reach out and touch it. It looks worn but still in fair condition though there are some spots on it that look like someone managed to tear their teeth through it.
“We’re going to need to get you a new coat?” The words slip from my lips in a playful joke as he turns the garment so he can look at it from the front. He frowns softly at the sight of it and sets it back down on its silk wrapping.
“I guess we will. It’s been ages since I’ve looked at it. I really thought that wrapping it up this way would keep it safe but it hasn’t really been.”
I can tell, from his reaction, that the coat means a lot to him so instead of teasing him about it, I just look it over again a moment. “Isn’t there a corner in our library that hasn’t been overfilled with books? We could get a mannequin, a protective glass case and we could set it up there? It’d be safe from most of the sun and you don’t get to be much more protected than in a glass case.”
Again, his case is on the garment, studying it. His lips pinched just lightly. I’ve been through the Victorian era, it was wonderful. I wasn’t all that old then, he was much older and I can understand the sentimentality I can sense from him. Finally he nods and carefully begins to fold the coat down. “Let’s keep it out, we can dust it up carefully and I could try my hand at mending- no wait. Here’s an idea and you can slap me if you don’t like it. How about we carefully bundle it up and bring it to Quentin? No one better than him to mend it and make it look absolutely like new.”
For a long moment he stares at the jacket, then at me, back at the jacket and my way again. I really can’t read his expression though eventually he does not and I can see just the hint of a smile to his lips.
“Like I’d hit you even if your idea had been a terrible one. This is a good idea and you know him better than I do, you can explain to him how important this is and how much it is cherished.”
“Lex, Quentin cherishes everything that is clothes and I think being able to handle such an old piece is going to be a huge proof that we trust him. Just wrap it back up, you know how to better than me and while you do that I’ll call over and see if we can cross and visit.”
He nods, looking at the garment still as if it was filled with memories and I imagine it must be. I leave him be to his wrapping and by the time he comes back out of the room, he’s handling the whole box. I guess it is filled with memories and more garments of a time gone by.
“In a few days I should be able to bring those back across to you.” Quentin’s voice is quiet, thoughtful as he looks at the clothes set out along his working table. His weaving room is bigger than I had thought it would be. Of course the door is closed at this point and I think it’s more of a relief for Lex than me. He cherishes all those different garments so much more than I can imagine.
“I know, Alexis. Valuable, I will treat them as I would anything worth so much in anyone’s eyes. Weaving is in my blood, any garment requires attention and a careful touch.”
I can only grin at Lex’s slightly gaping look. He’s not used to being cut off, at least by anyone whose name isn’t Eoghan Mac Niadh. I cut him off on a regular basis but that’s to be expected. Eventually, he nods and brushes his fingers over the jacket one final time. We file out of the work room and Quentin closes the door, locking it moments later.
Quentin leads us back to the front door and again we go through the ritual of opening one door, making sure the area is cat free and closing that door before we open the other one. It has become routine in a way that none of us actually mind. Anyone else might be annoyed by the care these two put into keeping all areas of their home safe but in my eyes, it’s just an extra layer of care.
“I’ll call when everything is ready and fixed up. At that point we can decided if you two would rather come pick it up or if you’d want me to bring it up to you. Both options are a possibility. I can set everything up on hangers and under plastic protective sheets once I’m done as well so no real worries about having them grow dusty during the brief transport from one house to the next.”
“Thank you Quentin.” I know we’ve done the right thing. I mean I know I’ve done the right thing. Lex looks pleased that his old garments, though he may never wear them again, will be fixed up and Quentin looks to be in heaven with that kind of work offered to him. This is a win-win situation.