She squinted her eyes to block the Sun out. She counted the coins she had and kept them in a hidden pocket, of her money bag, she had sewn in. Today was the last day she had to do this. Not anymore.
She picked up her bags of vegetables. She saw the vendor stare at her mammary glands. Shuddering at the thought of what he may be thinking, she walked away. Today was the last day she would walk away silently. Not anymore.
She walked down to her home, no, her husband’s home. The men of the village knew what she was. The women of the village were silent watchers. There were many like her here. No one said anything aloud. But the way they stared at her, spoke to her, spoke about her, gave it all away. They were all hand in glove.
Two years ago, she’d set foot in the village. She was happy at the turn of events in her life. From dried grasslands into lush green living. She thanked her fortunes every day and showered love on her fortune changer. At the back of her mind, however she always found something amiss. She ignored it again and again. Her husband’s abject lack of affection, her in-laws’ desire for an early child, the villagers eyeing her with a look that could make fathers drive back daughters into the houses forever, the pity in the eyes of some women for her; it all kept prodding at that feeling of danger lurking around nearby.
Three months ago, she gave birth to her husband’s son. Everyone at the house was overjoyed. She wanted to die. She was a vessel for them. That is all she was. She may be sparsely educated but she was perceptive. She read people’s behavior, heard them talk, noticed things around. She didn’t want to believe her fate. Her husband had married her for a child. Like the other men in the village, he would sell her off after that. The first time her mother in law hugged her was after the test confirmed she was bearing a boy. She sobbed all night.
Once her son was born, she was rarely allowed to be with him. She was to only feed him and take care of him after the others were tired of playing with him. All she became was a nanny to her own son. She had hoped things would change after her child’s birth. They did. The people of the house showered affection. On her son.