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Vera and Bob got engaged during the war. She had always wanted to have a white silk wedding dress, but in those times of scarcity, there was none to be had. Many girls got married in their smartest suit, with a corsage and a silver horseshoe. It looked appropriate with a husband in uniform. But that was not Vera’s heart’s desire. Then all of a sudden a friend at one of the Air Force provisioning centres purloined a length of parachute silk and brought it home under her frock. It was still warm. Vera ran it through her fingers: it was pearly, soft and gossamer. Perfect.

Her mother made the dress. The material itself seemed a little recalcitrant, hard to fashion, as though it had a will of its own. She had wanted something sleek and fitted, but somehow the billowing folds asserted themselves, and the whole ensemble took shape of its own volition. There were tucks and frills and peplums, so that Vera (who was a tiny thing) looked almost lost in it, like an insect in the centre of an enormous cabbage rose.


The wedding day dawned, and Vera and Bob went to church. The ceremony was quick but heartfelt. During the service, the dress seemed to rustle unconscionably. They walked back down the aisle, and Vera thought to herself that she would never be so happy again. This turned out to be the case. When they came out of the church, an enormous wind had got up, and they all struggled to remain upright. The wind seemed to be making a beeline for Vera, and it buffeted the enormous frock. All of a  sudden she felt very light on her feet. But she was not dancing: she was flying.


The wind took the silk and whirled Vera up into the clouds. She was never seen again. Bob survived the war, even though Vera did not. He liked to tell the tale of the sky-borne bride and the vengeful parachute. But few people believed  him.

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