"What's that?" I asked, eyeing the large cardboard box Anthy was opening with, of all things, the edge of one of her earrings.

She glanced up and gave me one of her sidelong smiles from where she was seated on the living room floor.

I couldn't help noticing what she was doing, although I was sitting on the couch supposedly doing my English reading, which was dreadfully dull-- it was Dickens that semester. I remember Anthy remarking that Dickens was rather tame after a course of Wilkie Collins. She'd had me read The Moonstone to her on one of our long car drives somewhere, I recalled fondly, saying that it would improve my English accent. She had giggled at all the parts with the "Indians" in them, but it was a very exciting story nonetheless.

I blinked, shaking myself out of my reverie. Anthy's smile deepened at one corner and she unfolded the top of the brown box and rummaged through the pale tissue paper within.

"The-- Anthy, what is that?" I half stood up, spilling the book and the cat off my lap. Nanami hit the floor with a heavy thud and a trill of protest, waving her tail.

The box was filled with red-and-gold silk. That's a simple way to describe the shimmering glory of the thing. It was patterned with green, and the the patterns were too intricate for me to make out at a distance, and the gold threads seemed to be woven in with the red silk. The designs were like flowing water and flame and flowers, but not quite any of those things. I had, frankly, never seen anything like it.

Anthy pulled one end out of the box and examined a border that looked like either leaves or flames or leaping fish, and was even more heavily golden than the rest of it. "It's a wedding sari," she said, as though it were quite ordinary.

"Oh," I said.

"It's antique," she said, pulling more of it out of the box. It seemed impossibly long. She flung one end of it over my lap and I touched it gingerly. Despite all the gold threads, the silk was very soft. "Handwoven," she added. "It's very fine work."

"Where did you get it?" I asked, almost afraid to touch it again.

She raised one eyebrow quizzically at me. "India," she replied.

I stared at her as she stood up and gathered the red-and-golden-and-green glory of it around her. She snapped it in the air-- it seemed to catch all the light in the apartment-- and then started to fold it.

"Anthy?" I asked.


"What's it for?"

"The wedding." She was looking down at the cloth as she said it, but there was a secret smile in the corners of her eyes.

"Oh." I sat down, breathless. "Right. The wedding. Does that mean you just asked me to--"

"Yes," she said, putting the sari back in the box.

"Oh," I said, through the big stupid grin on my face. "Yes."

Anthy smiled back. "Wait until you see your outfit."