Tia Blais-Billie’s Sunset Till Midnight (2017):

O.C. Gorman responds with text on drawing:

Did they know that the future wears a skirt?

[Did they know that the future wears a skirt?

I remember fabric shopping with my Nalí Lady. Fabric for skirtmaking. My chubby brown fingers gliding across the cool, crisp rows of bolts. She answered all my questions matter-of-factly: that one is hard to sew, that one is seethrough, too expensive, too cheaply made - wears out quick, I see, I see, Áoo’, Áoo’, a nod, an amused giggle. Nalí was always giggling. My dad translated adding in his own commentary, no doubt. He too is a giggler. I always wanted her to get the bright, shiny fabric. The ones that would look best spinning. Like running water or a rainbow.

My Masani would never measure us. She’d ask my mom what our T-shirt size was and the next we saw her she’d have skirts and dresses for us. The skirts always fit, but the dress tops were always baggy. That made us giggle. She didn’t have an electric sewing machine, so even now when I imagine someone sewing I see the waffling back and forth of the metal double foot pedal. She must have had strong calves, limber ankles. Lol.

My mom still makes skirts for me. She says it takes 5 yards of fabric. But I ask for 6 so it can be extra puffy. She makes skirts the night before the events because that’s who she is, and because she can. She travels with her sewing machine now that we live far from home. She never forgets to remind us to be careful, “it’s heavy.”

I took my 6 year old nibling fabric shopping for skirt making. Her tiny brown hands feeling each fabric. She asked all the questions. I answered matter-of-factly and giggled as she happy danced when she picked  shiny bubblegum pink fabric, and again when she had to get a second unicorn fabric “just in case.” Shádí  gifted her a little sewing machine. We have to be careful when she takes it to Auntie’s for lessons.

The future is made with delicate and capable brown hands. As vibrant and sacred as our skirts. Blessed by fire, red dirt, and laughter.]

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