The shop was like a magician's hideaway.
Lace dripped from shelves like melting snow; an aurora borealis had been pulled from the sky and now burned somberly among the satins; velvets curled like sleeping animals. I saw taffetas with tiny roses growing from their borders and black linen sutured with thread the color of a sunset.
But I stopped at the silks. They were like breaths of iridescent air, and seemed to shudder away from my inquisitive fingers. They were printed with filigrees of growing things: damask roses, acorns, and thistles. There were leaves growing like the underwater fans that cooled the gaping, panting fish:
There was an entire mongrel genealogy of wildflowers:
They were all twisted into a Rococo exuberance and colored with nature's gentility. Madcap and subtle, the silken landscapes thrived in my hands.
Suddenly, I felt the dainty textiles move and contract. The textures changed as quickly as clouds confronting the wind: tense and rough, then smooth and conforting. There was a quick sharpness as well. I stared at my hands, and indeed there was an offending spot of blood…now where had I seen that thistle?
There was warmth, and the colors paled: there was cold, and my silks became dark and shaded. I heard water – as thin as ribbon, as faint as the daytime moon – and the pretty fabrics were streaked with damp.
I smelt earth, and chlorophyll; decay and green youth. There was the scent of life: cool Spring, dank Summer, the Autumn's harvest and Winter's spices. Within the threads taken from the spindles of busy worms, I detected the watercolor fragrance of flowers and trees.
I heard an aggravated fluttering, and the painted leaves shivered. There were hoofbeats and I peered into the sharp folds, looking for tears caused by tiny antlers held too proudly. I heard a quiet buzzing, and wings bobbing in the air – and an occasional flower would sway fretfully. Newborn breezes lifted the living fabric out of my stunned grasp.
Then the fabrics were quiet. I carefully gathered the resting silks in my arms and walked outside, unnoticed. I walked until I was out of the city, until the streets I followed became dusty outlines and forests stretched out like welcoming arms. I laid the silks on the grass, and, content that they were safely home, left them there.