Every day she took home a different hat from her store — she was a milliner — and wore it until it took the shape of her head, sitting reading in the sun, perhaps, if it was that sort of a hat, or sewing by the fire, or dancing in one of the many dark and charged clubs that filled the city. When it had molded to her, to where her head fit within it as comfortable as fingers inside a palm, she took it back to the shop and placed it in the place of honor behind the register and chose another.

In this way she took the measure of the years, in the wearing of hats and the shaping of a life.

In the summer she wore always the same hat, a long-brimmed and cool affair, out of style now for twenty years, but raked pertly and daringly, and went to sit outside at the cafes drinking iced tea, long glasses beaded with condensation. She smoked and watched people pass on the street, her fingers laced together under her chin, one leg crossed over the other, shoe dangling carelessly from her toes.