Saturday, 27 June 2015

Creases by Ingrid Jendrzejewski

Enid was seven when she discovered that when she folded something perfectly, it came into existence. She had always been taken with paper, textiles, cling film, doughs -- anything she could manipulate with her hands -- but it was only when she was old enough to pair patience with manual dexterity that she was able to fold life into her creations.

Her parents hid the word 'origami' from her for as long as they could, but before Enid's age exceeded the number of nimble fingers on her two hands, she was crimping up cranes by the dozens. When she started in on frogs and small mammals, her parents traded the family home for a ranch with lots of acreage and very strong fences. The move was made just in time; within weeks, Enid was studying patterns for elephants, dinosaurs and dragons.

Such large-scale creatures amused Enid through her teens, but as she grew older, she began to work on a much smaller scale. If she got plenty of sleep, had a healthy breakfast and then concentrated very hard, she found that she could precisely fold things that were very tiny indeed. She started an undergraduate course in biochemistry, but before she completed even half of the degree requirements, she was snapped up by the pharmaceutical industry and put to work folding proteins. She found she had a real knack for polypeptides.

Enid had an illustrious career and a good life; she married a kind geometrist with an interest in napkin folding problems, and together they built their home and furnishings in the pureland style, using only mountain and valley folds. Their children grew up happy and healthy, with pets of every shape and size.

It was only when her hands began to tremble with old age that Enid realised her fundamental oversight: she had spent so much time creasing the stuff of everyday life that she had forgotten about time. If only she had turned her attention to that most malleable of substances, she thought, she might have been able to fashion her own inevitable.

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