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 russet 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:   french 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 twisted into a Rococo exuberance but 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 in the wind:  tense and rough, then smooth and comforting.  There was a sudden sharpness as well.  I stared at my hands, and indeed there was a spot of blood where a thistle had been offended.
There was warmth, and the colors paled:  there was cold, and my silks became dark and shaded.  I heard water - a sound 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 nests of busy worms, I detected the watercolor fragrance of flowers and trees. 

I heard an aggravated fluttering, and the painted leaves shivered.  I heard a quiet buzzing, 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. I laid the silks on the grass, and, content that they were safely home, left them there.   

Melinda Giordano is a native of Los Angeles, California.  She is a graduate of U.C.L.A. and works in public relations.  She has long been a published artist, and has now begun to submit examples of her prose.  Her written pieces have appeared in Lake Effect Magazine as well as the online magazines, Danse Macabre and Gloom Cupboard. She writes flash fiction and prose poetry that speculates on the possibility of remarkable things.  Melinda is interested in history, sepia architecture and anything to do with Aubrey Beardsley. 

This is a description of the beautiful Rococo fabrics of the late 18th century.  I was inspired by the confrontation between the gentility and swirling patterns that brought them to life - I can feel them moving in my hands even as I write this.  Whether they were sewn into draperies nestled by the breeze, or into dresses that swept the ground, they were never meant to be still.



Copyright 2009