A Shepherd’s Wife
As she watched her husband shove off on the ship bound for another country she shuddered because she knew it would be many years before she would see him again. Now she would have to shepherd their sheep, shovel their shit, and shuttle to market every day all by herself if she wanted to survive. Her neighbors would shun her and she would have to be shrewd in all of her business dealings.
She pulled the shawl over her head and turned to walk out of the shipyard back to her home in the fields next to the shrine of the God they worshipped. As she passed a shipment of shrimp that had just come in she was tempted to ask for a job. But another woman shoved her out of the line that was just starting to form. Soon the place would be under siege from other wives without husbands also looking for work. This was not the place for her. No, she had sheep to shear and shrubs to trim.
When she reached home she removed the shroud from the idol in her small room and kneeled to pray. She needed a shred of hope but none came from the idol. Then she went to the kitchen to make herself a meal. As she was rinsing vegetables in a sieve she remembered that she had once learned shorthand. Maybe someone would need help in an office. But whom was she kidding, no one would take a poor shepherd’s wife to work in an office. Her life was all laid out for her. This was her fate.