Part 1

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There are things that a mother passes down to her daughter and there are things a daughter wished she did. Times change and so do traditions. The previous traditions no longer feel necessary to teach. And where do the relics and memories of traditions go? Sometimes into boxes that are put in closets to linger for years, blanketed by dust and cobwebs. The lost little flies that I manage to trap here in my webs. I wrap up the lost things here to save for myself later.

But there always that one. That one daughter who has to be too nosy. Too interested in things of the past. Too willing to hold onto things that others would easily let slip through their fingers when it appeared no longer of use or forgotten. That one who still feels those traditions in her fingers, like my muscle memory that I use to make webs. She felt those memories were starting to slip from her grasp, so she went searching. And like all of those who go searching, eventually they will find me.

But first let me tell you about this daughter. Her name: Nkyimu.

Growing up Nkyimu would secretly watch her mother for hours with needlework. I should know; I watched them hidden away in the corners. Her mother, Toma, could patch-up a hole in any of their clothes and make it look brand new. She could dance with a thin, straight line of yarn and make it into new crossing networks of creation using needles like her wands of magic. When she crocheted with the hooked needle, Nkyimu watched her, wondering if the hook possessed a greater force than two straight needles since it did the work of two by itself. These knots and loops of yarn her mother turned into a world of colorful patterns and fabric right before her eyes. Nkyimu would be fixed by how easily her mother could do so. I must admit, I was impressed myself, but she was no match for me.

While weaving fabrics together, Toma told Nkyimu Nansi tales she heard growing up, including the one of the two brothers who found Nansi in the forest weaving a web and learned the secret of the magic thread. Actually that was another spider, but I don't mind taking the credit. My favorite was when she told the story of Nansi asking his father, the Sky God Nyame, for his trunk of stories.

"When the trunk opened, Nansi spun webs to catch all the invisible stories that floated around in the sky."

"Kind of like a dream catcher mommy?"

"Yeah something like that. But Nansi web is more than a protective charm to catch good dreams. His web catches all stories because you do not gain wisdom from good stories alone," she chuckled to herself, "it is amazing the amount of stories and dreams you can catch when you have the right stitch, the right move of the hands and the right timing."

But that was years ago. Nkyimu's mother had less and less time for her needling magic these days. Work was taking up all of her time. With layoffs at the warehouse, her mother had more shifts and later shifts. She was too tired these days. Her tools ended up packed away in a trunk somewhere in the house, much like those stories. Nkyimu feared that her chance to learn was gone and she grew lonelier with her mother often gone. But at least I had a new spot to hang out. Get it - hang. Hehe.

Then one day Nkyimu got some idea out of nowhere to start searching for that trunk. She looked through the house, looking through all of the closets. And she found it -- in the back of an upstairs closet, the unusual small trunk covered in what Nkyimu recognized as the Emaa Da patterns her mother use to have on her kente cloth. The largely blue cloth with gold vertical double lines and gold, brownish red and green piston-shaped patterns on the lines. A representation of knowledge and creativity -- fitting for someone like myself. "Emaa Da: it has not happened before," I heard her mutter to herself. I was mildly annoyed by her destroying my webs on the trunk but those words I could not resist.

Nkyimu opened the trunk. Inside was an book. "Needy Needle's Treasury of Needlecrafts," she read out loud. Stored next to it was an old black and white sewing machine. As she lifted the book, I crawled out from behind it. In the form of a small black spider and in a barely lit closet, I thought she wouldn't notice. But Nkyimu jumped and almost ran from the closet. I guess she had a fear of spiders. Typical. I stayed quiet in the corner as she pulled the trunk further out of the closet to avoid me and I quickly crawled out as she looked through the trunk for other items.

"I see you are messing with something I have already claimed as mine."

Nkyimu whipped around towards my direction and gave me quite a look of shock. "Who...Who are you?"

"I go by a lot of names. But you can call me Ana."

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