What would Lilly be like without all the pressures of society’s norms and expectations that make her what she has to be?
Like a butterfly emerging from its cramped chrysalis she becomes a different creature. She unfurls herself, stretches her wings and flies away. And carried by the breeze she lands… in Cornwall, by the sea.
Lilly loves natural textiles, great folds of fabric and earthy colours. She loves this time of year because she can choose autumnal themes. She piles her firey-red hair up high and fixes it with a beautiful wooden clasp that she has carved herself. She chooses a simple embroidoire anglaise blouse with a delicate lace collar, but hides it under an old fisherman’s jumper that wouldn’t look out of place on a scottish trawler. She loves her full skirts woven with the colours of Fall, so long she has to hitch them up to climb the harbour steps or cross the lane. And everywhere she goes she wears her brown leather boots. For Lilly, clothes are a way to create a world, soft, natural and warm, just like her. She visits craft markets and second-hand stalls to search out items for her wardrobe. She likes to chat to the stall holders to hear their stories – they become the stories of her clothes.
Lilly likes to sketch: the boats in the harbour, the cottages below the headland. But most of all she likes to draw people. She has the true artist’s ability to capture that turn of the head, that way of standing that just catches the essence of a person’s character. And of course she loves to draw their clothes. She sells her sketches to the tourists in the summer. And Lilly makes friends. Annie, who sells ice creams by the sea wall and who goes to choir with her on a Thursday evening. Angela, who manages the local Spar supermarket and is Coxswain at the lifeboat station. And of course the ladies in The Knitting Circle. Lilly wears her heart on her sleeve and her friendships are warm and close and good.
Some things don’t change. Lilly still loves her lingerie – her collection is bursting out of her wardrobe. She still loves to try on or her silks and laces when she is alone and if you were to pass her cottage in the dead of night, see a glow of light in her window and peak in, you might see something you shouldn’t but might rather enjoy. Sometimes she even sketches herself: “The artist, in lingerie” – self portrait.
So Lilly has found who she wants to be. She loves the world around her. As she goes about her new life people see her and say “There goes Lilly. Doesn’t she always look lovely! She’s really a man, you know, but what a lovely girl!