Elena tugged at a corner, and the heavy silk twill slipped from beneath the stack of scarves to fall open in her hands.
In the field of cerulean blue, the silver bark of the tree shone. The slender branches stretched up from the trunk reaching almost to the limits of the carré, the square. From those branches sprouted golden leaves edged in black. A light breeze fluttered the silk, and the leaves and branches of the scarf tree came alive.
Elena looked across the bedroom, and through the open window it seemed that she could see David and the old man playing chess under the trees in the Jardin du Luxembourg. The old man was still, except his eyes moving around board, coming back to the new position of David’s bishop. He moved his queen from H3 to C8, pressed to stop his clock, and looked at David.
Elena found herself sitting on a chair between the two men wondering whether David could extricate himself. Nourah lay at her ankle. The Saluki’s head rested on her paws but she was not sleeping. Her nose quivered and her eyes were busy.
With David’s next move the old man smiled.
“Ah, Davide. Je vous ai piégé maintenant.” Another move and another press of the chess clock.
Suddenly Nourah lifted her head, ears pricked. Across the park a white cat emerged from a shrub and walked out onto the gravel path. In a flash Nourah was off, leash flying as she closed the distance in an impossibly short time.
Elena called after her, but a sight hound with prey is single-minded.
Across the street and into the neighborhood Nourah flew — oblivious to traffic, to passersby. Elaine caught her only because the cat disappeared through a gate into a large courtyard, and there Nourah sat, peering through the iron bars. When she stooped to pick up the leash, Nourah put her nose against Elena’s ear.
“Don’t tell me you’re sorry. I know you aren’t.” She ruffled the dog’s silvery hair.
David found them on the Rue Michelet headed back to the Luxembourg, Elena’s hair wild, and Nourah sleek and elegant at her side.
“Done with the game?”
“You saw. Jean-Claude had finished me already. Let’s go for a coffee, or — ” David looked at his watch. “Perhaps a drink?”
“Yes. La Closerie des Lilas or Le Dome?
As they settled themselves at a table, Nourah arranged herself next to David’s chair, pressed against his leather messenger bag.
The waiter brought the drinks and Elaine took a sip of her champagne cocktail.
“I have something for you.” David pulled a box from his bag and handed it across the table.
Elena opened the orange box with the bright blue scarf, and as she took it out it fell open and the golden tree fluttered out.
“How lovely, David.”
“All French women should have at least one.”
“But I am not French.”
“I think Paris has adopted you. Besides, when I am back in Riadh, it will please me to think of you wearing it.”
Elena reached across the table and put her hand on top of David’s, which he turned palm up to hold hers.
“You will keep Nourah while I am gone?”
“Of course. But –”
“This trip, this time . . .
“It will be fine.”
Perhaps a narrow folding.
Elena lay the scarf flat, took opposite corners and folded each corner into the middle. She folded each side towards the middle again, and then again until the scarf was a thin, long strip of bright blue and gold. She tied it around her head, knotting it at the nape of her neck with the long tails of the scarf draping over her shoulder in her hair.
Nourah was not allowed at the American Cathedral, and David’s parents hadn’t understood why it upset her. But Elena put the Saluki’s picture next to David’s at the front.
You aren’t supposed to wear Hermès scarves in the rain. The colors might run.
The smell of the light shower mixed with exhaust and Elena and the dog crossed the street with the headlights glistening on the wet pavement in front of them.
Her hair was too thin for this now. She looked at herself in the mirror on the dresser again. It would have to be a different fold.
You see, you fold the scarf into a triangle. Center the widest part on your forehead, the rest of the scarf covers your head, and the long corners tie together over the back of the triangle to create a head wrap.
“Oh, there you are!” The young woman seated on the banquette waved at her friend.
The restaurant looked like a pale Parisian brasserie. The upscale clientele loved the monochromatic palate that was such the current style. So much more elegant than the real thing.“How ARE you?” rejoined her friend, swinging her handbag into the seat next to her. In the background the jazz gave way to something with a few too many violins.
They looked about for their waiter. He was at the table one over from theirs talking intently with an older woman. Thin and somewhat pale, and she was all in white linen with scarf tied around her head. The bright, clear blue with touches of silver and leaves of gold framed her face.
Fiction. Ann Cavitt Fisher, copyright 2016.
Dedicated to women who love scarves, and to all who need them as they fight cancer.
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Why are Hermès scarves so expensive?
Hermès of Paris is a luxury goods manufacturer established in 1837. The first Hermès scarves were produced in 1937, the company’s 100 year anniversary.
The Hermès silk farm is in Brazil. It takes 300 cocoons of silk to create a single scarf. The design and silk screening work is done in Lyon, France. Each scarf design takes from 750 to 2000 or more hours to create because each element in a design that requires a different color is hand drawn on a separate screen.
For those interested in learning about the Hermès Carré, the article and videos below help show why these scarves are special.
|The Making of the World’s Most Coveted Square||Secrets of an Hermes Scarf|
|How Hermes Silk Scarves are Made||Hand-rolling the scarves|