My daughter gave me an origami heart she’d made and I decided to return her loving gesture with one of my own – even though craft is really not my thing. I squashed the little voice inside that said, Well don’t feel too bad if you fail miserably again – I’m sure you don’t need reminding of the last time you tried to make origami and leafed through the book. And found shining from the page the perfect creative expression. In thirty-two steps, I would have beautiful origami alpaca.
But why stop at just one? I could add a baby as well – or a whole herd, even. I was envisioning twenty alpacas fenced by a plastic pen, a little water trough, some hay sprinkles and a farmer in the background. An alpaca diorama she could keep on her shelf forever.
I read the instructions through. Then read them again. Then read them one more time in case I missed something – because even though the instructions were headed with “intermediate skill”, none of it made sense. But this was about a loving gesture, so cross-eyed and sweating, I reached for the paper.
And then there was the voice again, telling me that flowers may be a better option because, after all, we don’t want to have a tantrum and throw shreds of paper all about the room again, do we?
I sighed, chose a nice brown piece of paper and began the first step.
Phew, that wasn’t so hard.
But my doubts wouldn’t entirely let go.
The edges don’t meet. It’s supposed to be symmetrical.
I ignored it and folded again.
Oops-a-daisy! That looks like you should have folded the edges into the middle. There’s three dotted lines, not four.
I unfolded and took another deep breath, then returned to step one.
Okay. Now fold it diagonally.
Wait. I think I have to flip it.
Nonsense. Go get your glasses.
I continued folding.
Actually, it’s quite clearly a diagonal fold. Or is that just because you should have flipped it back there?
I pulled the flap out and swiveled it.
Why are you swivelling?
Because there’s arrows.
Yes, but they indicate the direction of folding. Not the direction of swivelling.
I scrunched up the paper. Maybe I’d just start again.
Yeah, that one was inside-out. And folded all wrong.
I chose a nice purple and began again. I folded it in half.
Nope. That’s the wrong way, remember?
Ten minutes later, I had seven scrunched-up bits of paper, and no alpaca.
I need coffee.
No, you don’t. You’re trying to give up.
Then why am I doing this origami? It’s stressful. Everyone knows you should stay away from stress when you’re trying to beat an addiction.
Keep going. You’re doing it for Molly. And to prove you can do origami like every other person on the planet.
Riiiight. How’s that working out?
I sighed. And then I had a brilliant idea.
Some coffee, a computer and five minutes later, I presented Molly with this.