The Machine by Seorin Kae at

The Machine

The Machine

written by: Seorin Kae



“I  am on my way. I will call you as soon as I arrive. – The Foreigner”

After sending the message she looks up at the blue sky. The day before yesterday they sent flood warnings. This morning they warned against heat waves. Nevertheless she is not easily brought off track by changes in the weather – even if it might mean it’s the end of the world.

She walks happily down the road and tries to open the door, but the old man is nowhere to be seen. Dialing his number, she peeks through the window and mumbles strange morse code to herself.

“Oh, you almost here? I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

She walks around aimlessly in the heat of the day, the sweat glistening on her forehead. Finally the old man forces the door open.

“Come on in. I cleaned it for you. And I’ve got some other goodies for you, too. It’s not often that a young lady from out of town comes in here. Sit down. Sit down. I’ll show you how to use the machine.”

She sits down on the faded blue chair.

“I really like the machine. It looks sturdy like it will last me a few years.”

“Of course. It wasn’t assembled in China you know. Nowadays they assemble these machines there and it certainly does not work the same. They are no good. No good.”

He shows her how to connect the pedal and how to change the needle. He makes her practice how to put the thread through the needle. He teaches her how to use the different settings.

“Since this one has no instruction manual, you will have to practice how to use it properly.”

“I wouldn’t know what to do with an instruction manual anyways. Thank you for showing me how to use it.”

He smiles at her with a twinkle in his eyes.

“I’ve worked at this place for over fifty years. I started working here after I graduated from middle school. I have other stores, too. The store next door sells very expensive machines. But they are no good. No good.”

She takes out the money, counts it and hands it over to him to count it again.

“I really appreciate all the trouble you went through. Can I bring it to you if I have any problems?”

“Sure. Or you can call me if you forget how to use it.”

“I certainly will. Have a good day Sir.

Just as she gets to the bus station the bus arrives and she lifts the heavy machine with one hand while paying with the other.

“Wait! Wait.! You forgot your scissors.!”

The panting man reaches into the bus. She reaches out smiling as she takes the scissors from the man.

“Thank you! I clean forgot.”


Blessed by the kindness of an honest and generous old man, she wishes she could visit his store more frequently to hear his contagious laughter.


After connecting the pedal, she sits down at her desk and tries to remember everything the old man taught her. She follows the numbers on the cover of the sewing machine to fit the thread through the needle.

She draws blue lines across the white linen. Cutting carefully around the corners, she imagines the colorful patterns on the pouch she has in mind.

The tiny orange stitches form the outlines of her creation. Trying not to get a stitch in her fingers, she adjusts the speed by gently lifting her foot off the pedal.

Though she did have to remove some of her original stitches in order to save one of her pins and pull the knotted thread out of the the machine a few times, she is now quite satisfied with her little pouch.

“Now for the finishing touches.”

She pushes the now five-layered linen under the foot with a smile of accomplishment.

“Oh dear! The needle!”

She unscrews the needle and looks in all her baskets and pouches and cupboards for a spare needle.

With a slight twinkle in her eyes she reaches for her phone.

“The machine works beautifully. However I tried to sew something too thick for the needle to stay in tact. Will you be working tomorrow?”



This story is a true story although it is very short. It is dedicated to the old man that showed me that we can still find kind, honest people on this planet and that all hope is not lost. Evil will grow into greater darkness and the smallest light will still bring us courage to over that darkness with good.

Latest posts by Seorin Kae (see all)