art by Cheryl L Owen-Wilson
The Final Seam
by T. Callihan
She turned the head back right side out. She smoothed the features into place as she worked the stuffing in. She positioned the eyes, popped them into place, then adjusted the eyelids and lashes around them. After adding the last of the stuffing, she lined up the edges of what was going to be the final seam and took a deep breath.
This was the last step. True, there was work to be done after the last stitch: cheek and lip shading, hair, and she thought this one might need freckles. But the head seam was the last make-or-break point. Mistakes there could be hidden in the hair well enough to pass a visual scrutiny, but you never knew when a child was going to be tactilely oriented, and once a seam was found, the illusion was destroyed. She knew that firsthand, and she was never going to ruin a childhood the way hers had been.