Market Day

She wears her best dress, clean and bright.  She pulls back her hair and cleans her face.  She slides colorful earrings into her lobes.  Reluctantly, she slips on the required armband—a dull gray band that marks her as a domestic.  Before the Reassignment, she’d been a successful computer programmer.  Then computers were banned and she suddenly, amazingly, found herself with no skills.   

She eschews shoes.  While domestics are allowed them—presumably to protect the owners of the house from any disease their workers may carry—she rarely wears them: She likes the feel of the dust and the rare patch of grass between her toes.  She walks to the marketplace, a basket upon her hip.  She smiles broadly. 


Despite the hour, the marketplace is busy.  At the corner, old Joseph stands before his cart of coffee beans, dark and lovely.  She refuses the coffee, despite the fact that Joseph claims that chewing the beans brightens the smile.  She has one thing on her mind this day.  She passes the fruits, orange and purple; the birds chattering from bamboo cages; the spices red and brown and yellow.  She fingers the coins in her pockets.  When she reaches the fabric merchant’s stall, she lingers.

The fabric is there still.  She picks up a piece, rubs it between her finger and thumb.  She loves the way it feels; loves the way it shimmers.  For two years, she has saved: This fabric will make her wedding dress.  She glances at the price. 

“This has doubled.”

She feels the eyes of the merchant upon her.  She doesn’t like the way he looks down upon her.  Thick lips, thick waist, thick rings around his fatty fingers.  She refuses to allow his mockery; his judgment.  She drops the cloth.  “Cheap,” she pronounces.  She moves on to the next stall of the market, the feel of the cloth upon her skin a memory. 

She remembers how easy it used to be to buy coffee and spices and fabric and fruit.

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was cheap.




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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Market Day

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Market Day

She wears her best dress, clean and bright.  She pulls back her hair and cleans her face.  She slides colorful earrings into her lobes.  Reluctantly, she slips on the required armband—a dull gray band that marks her as a domestic.  Before the Reassignment, she’d been a successful computer programmer.  Then computers were banned and she suddenly, amazingly, found herself with no skills.   

She eschews shoes.  While domestics are allowed them—presumably to protect the owners of the house from any disease their workers may carry—she rarely wears them: She likes the feel of the dust and the rare patch of grass between her toes.  She walks to the marketplace, a basket upon her hip.  She smiles broadly. 


Despite the hour, the marketplace is busy.  At the corner, old Joseph stands before his cart of coffee beans, dark and lovely.  She refuses the coffee, despite the fact that Joseph claims that chewing the beans brightens the smile.  She has one thing on her mind this day.  She passes the fruits, orange and purple; the birds chattering from bamboo cages; the spices red and brown and yellow.  She fingers the coins in her pockets.  When she reaches the fabric merchant’s stall, she lingers.

The fabric is there still.  She picks up a piece, rubs it between her finger and thumb.  She loves the way it feels; loves the way it shimmers.  For two years, she has saved: This fabric will make her wedding dress.  She glances at the price. 

“This has doubled.”

She feels the eyes of the merchant upon her.  She doesn’t like the way he looks down upon her.  Thick lips, thick waist, thick rings around his fatty fingers.  She refuses to allow his mockery; his judgment.  She drops the cloth.  “Cheap,” she pronounces.  She moves on to the next stall of the market, the feel of the cloth upon her skin a memory. 

She remembers how easy it used to be to buy coffee and spices and fabric and fruit.

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was cheap.




Labels:

13 Comments:

At March 27, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Anonymous Dunce Academy said...

This is awesome! It creates a very tangible world and setting. I would like to see more of this story.

 
At March 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading!

 
At March 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM , Anonymous Songbyrd1958 said...

This story is so alive. I can see the colors, smell the smells, feel the dust on her feet and the material between her fingers. You took one word and spun such a story. wonderfully creative!

 
At March 27, 2012 at 3:02 PM , Anonymous Carrie said...

Nice little scene. You crafted the setting for a world and I could easily picture her walking through town to the market.

 
At March 27, 2012 at 9:44 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

I like this scene!

 
At March 28, 2012 at 12:48 AM , Anonymous laciejay said...

Very nice little story you wrote.

 
At March 28, 2012 at 5:40 PM , Anonymous Libby Rodriguez said...

This was good, and you wondered why a computer programmer ended up in an environment that seemed like the Middle Ages.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 8:19 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! I would love to shop at this market!

 
At March 29, 2012 at 11:39 AM , Anonymous Christine Hanolsy said...

Ooo, I got all shivery. I love near-future dystopian stories. It's a little reminiscent of Handmaid's Tale. I *really* loved your description of the merchant: "Thick lips, thick waist, thick rings around his fatty fingers." You've practically given us his entire history and place in society with 10 words.

My only criticism is that I feel like the last line is a little superfluous - compared to the hints you dropped earlier in the piece, it's a little jarringly direct. I think your writing conveyed the meaning of that line without needing to spell it out.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 12:37 PM , Anonymous Lexy3587 said...

The world you set up here would be interesting to read more of. Little things like the fact that she's 'permitted to wear shoes'... it definitely sounds like there is more to this new society than just 'no computers anymore.' The merchant is described so perfectly.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 1:03 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for reading! Good point. The perfectionist in me wanted to get the count to exactly 333 words. You're right, those last words could probably go.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 7:01 PM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

I'm tantalized by the reassignment, the armbands, and this upcoming wedding. All of it. Saving two years and he raises the price just because it's a poor woman buying. Ouch. I loved the touch about the shoes, too.

 
At March 29, 2012 at 9:04 PM , Anonymous poetrybytheclueless said...

Wow, I wish this wasn't limited to 333 words, because I would love to read more and find out more about this world!

 

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