Her mother used to walk to school in blue shoes, it was a story she heard often enough though never really tired of it, though she couldn't say why.

"It is because women haven't given themselves over to the ironic. It is on that account that history will mark this as the age of women. Unlike men, we believe in our stories and in what we do."

It wasn't a question which she had thought her mother would answer, but once she had she believed in it. It was what they did. They had raised each other, her mother often said. It was an inversion.

And so I am steady, she thought, while she is silken.

For as long as she could remember they slept on silk sheets. It was a practical step, her mother said, there was nothing warmer than silk, nothing cooler. It was un-ironic, practical. For Samantha there were silk long johns in winter; Lisle, however, couldn't stand anything on her legs, just nappy woolen socks on the coldest days. When Samantha asked her why her mother told a story about a girl encased in a silk cocoon and floating on a river toward the falls. It made great sense to her and she often asked her mother to repeat it, even after she had grown.

In the story of the blue shoes the girl got her period. A crimson thread. With silk sheets you had to take care.