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.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge