Cassandra sat in Janet's living room idly playing with the fringe on one of the couch pillows. Earth, for all of its strange technology, was a boring place, she had decided. There was nothing productive to do. She could read a book, or play one of the games Sam had shown her on the computer, but that didn't accomplish anything. She had tried to cook, but after she had nearly set the kitchen on fire with the gas stove (it was so much hotter than the wood stove at home!) Janet had suggested that maybe she shouldn't cook without supervision. She longed for the basic chores of home, busywork for the hands that calmed her mind and would, maybe, for a while, erase the images of her friends, family, her whole village dying around her. Shucking corn had been her least favorite task, but right now she would give anything for a dozen ears to shuck. With a sigh she sat further back into the huge couch and began braiding the fringes.
"Cassie?" Janet's voice from the doorway startled her from the lull she had fallen into, shattering the brief peace she had achieved. She looked up, frowning. Janet was standing in the door, a large bag in her hands. "I got you something," she said, holding out the bag. Cassie sighed in resignation. The past weeks had been full of presents, from Janet, from Sam, even from Teal'c. At first they had been exciting; now she wondered at the amount of stuff an Earth kid needed. And none of it would bring back what she had lost. Dutifully she got up and took the bag from Janet, returning to the couch to open it. Her eyes opened wide in surprise as she reached in and encountered the familiar rough feel of wool. More eagerly, she pulled the wool from the bag and held it to her face, inhaling the smell of cool evenings by the fire carding or spinning with her mother. It had been one of her favorite times, the quiet work at the end of the day. Lowering the wool, she looked up to Janet with shining eyes. Janet smiled down at her and gestured at the bag. "There's more."
Reaching back into the bag, her fingers encountered smooth wood. Pulling the object out, it proved to be an old wooden drop spindle. The spindle wasn't quite the same design as she had learned to use when she was little, but it was similar. The wood was dark, shiny and smooth with age and use, the hook showing signs of rust around the bottom. A faded blue string with a couple of old strands of wool stuck to it was tied below the whorl.
"It was my grandmother's," Janet said, sitting next to Cassie on the couch. "She gave it to me when I was about your age, and taught me to spin." Cassie's fingers were already moving in the familiar patterns, pulling out a bit of the wool and tying it to the faded blue string. "We used to sit on the porch in the summer, when the air was so thick you could practically drink it, and spin. Then she would knit me the itchiest sweaters out of what we had spun. I hated those sweaters, but those times with my grandmother are some of my best memories." Cassie's fingers grasped the bottom of the spindle and snapped, starting it spinning. They both watched it spin for a while as Cassie fed out wool.
As the spindle slowed Cassie spoke. "My grandmother taught me to spin too. When I was six. I was so excited, I slept with my spindle for a month. Only big girls got to learn to spin. I took my spindle to school, and into the fields. My mom finally banned it from the dinner table. After my grandmother died I only spun in the evenings. My mom and dad and brothers would gather around the fire. My mom would sew or knit, my brother and father would carve, and I would card or spin. It was my favorite time of day." For the first time, remembering her family didn't hurt quite so bad. She wouldn't forget her home and her family like she'd feared. She could spin, and while she spun, they would always be with her. Giving the spindle another twist, Cassie leaned into Janet's shoulder and smiled.