I never asked her name, and after I’d talked with her awhile I didn’t really want to know it. In my mind she’d become Mary, and finding out that her name was really Beth or Linda or Agatha would have just screwed things up.

“That’s a lovely coat,” I’d said admiringly, as we both waited for coffee, “Do you mind if I take your picture?”

The farmers marketfolk swirled around us, doing their best to look glassland-wierd. A half-shaved girl in a clown costume gallumped past, and three girls in crayon-colored Hello Kitty! slickers danced around us in the rain, singing about bicycles.

The weatherman had said “slight chance of rain” and I’d left my raingear at home, taking him at his word. Now I was getting soaked, and hoped the latte would ward off the chill. Mary looked nice and cozy in her purple rainhat and coat, and I envied her.

Even more so when she smiled at my request. “I don’t mind posing at all,” she said proudly, “I made this outfit myself.”

“Wow. You made your hat and coat, and the matching bag?” I said, pointing to the bag on her arm, already full of market produce.

“No, that’s not the same fabric, they don’t match at all,” she said reprovingly, “But the coat and hat, they do. I made them from an old Vogue pattern I got at a garage sale, an Issey Miyaki. Probably from the 80s.”

She turned to let me see the detail pleating on the back, the way the ties gathered into a longish kind of sash, almost an obi. She’d set her hat at a rakish angle, pinned up on one side to reveal a wild tangle of orange curls.

Purple and orange are my favorite colors, and hers were rich and saturated. I snapped away happily as she preened. Mary, I thought, is my next sculpture.

We chatted for a bit about sewing–“no one really sews anymore,” she said sadly–and the weather, and the market, really just passing the time while we waited for our coffees.

“I like your jacket, too,” she nodded, “But it’s getting wet. You shouldn’t let linen get wet.” And with that she picked up her coffee and headed for the stalls.