The Lady-Knight’s Armor


“Aren’t you cold?” I asked. I was seven.

A woman–she wasn’t seven–was wearing tights. She also had on lipstick.

“Not a bit,” she boasted.

I was cold. It was winter. I even had peed in my snow pants. Yet now, that too, had grown cold.

“Why not?” I asked.

The woman shrugged. She was smoking. The lipstick ate at the end of her cigarette. “Tights are a woman’s armor. Wearing them, nothing can touch us, not even the cold.”

I looked closely at the tights, held out my hand. She smacked it away.

“And you never touch a woman’s tights.” She coughed. She walked off, not shivering a bit.

I thought about it all day. I wondered if police officers wore tights underneath their uniforms. Soldiers too, I thought, later, undressing.

I went to Mother’s room. I found her tights in a drawer mixed in with bras and panties. Thinking—or, well, not thinking–I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife.

Later, sitting at the kitchen table, Mother on the other side of a pile of useless nylon, I cried.

I told her my story, of the lady-knight, and the police, and the soldiers. She sighed. She threw out the pile of useless nylon.

She told me the woman lied.

“Then how was she not cold!” I demanded, assuming foul play.

“Oh, sweetie,” Mother took my small hands in hers, “women are stronger than men.”

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