The tailor of Hoi An

    ‘You like a bag?’
Would I? I am too deep in retail narcosis to know. She has measured me twenty ways from chin to feet. She has zipped me into and out of twenty sample garments. We have drunk tea and studied bolts of cloth, laughed at the sight of this ungainly foreigner in an ao dai, pondered colors. We are friends in the shorthand of clothes.
   ‘To the hip. Bootcut.’
    ‘Lined. Mmm.’
    ‘Higher in the neck, you think?’
    ‘Fabric better with some stretch.’

I’ve picked out three pairs of trousers, a skirt, a modified ao dai, a jacket and some tops.
    ‘You like a bag, too?’
She is totting up my order on a child’s copybook. It comes to fifty five dollars. I don’t really need a bag, I think.
   ‘Because I am very happy you came into my shop today. I would like to make a bag for you as present.’

It was all ready in six hours. Now I am preening.