The Beautiful Hour
The swing of the ornamental gourds in her large string bag was in syncopation with her hips. And they were large juicy hips. The sort that children cling to with delight and wise women proclaim as a sign of great fertility. She ticktocked her way out of the alley and broke into the searing heat of the square. Her colourful dress gave her a degree of camouflage as she meandered through the throng that was expected for a Thursday. Tomorrow, being Friday, was a holy day and food needed to be bought today. The thin handles of the bag dug into her sweating palm and she paused to swap her load onto the other hand. The sun was now directly overhead. It bit into her shoulders and despite her expansive turban she had little protection. She thought greedily ahead to the beautiful hour. That hour between children falling asleep and having to prepare tomorrow’s meal. It was her time. She would sit in her favourite chair on the roof and watch that tangerine of a sun slip off the edge of her world. Its heat proving too big a burden for the night sky. Her father had made that chair as part of her dowry, but any bitterness of an arranged marriage had long gone. She loved to caress the lions carved on its arms with one hand and sip a glass of mint tea with the other. Her feet released from the bindings of her sandals would move like a satellite, tracking any breeze that was thrown from roof to roof. From under the sheet of corrugated iron that extended over the servant’s room, she would watch the antics of those week old kittens. The little black one was the boldest. He was always trying to escape the overly cautious eyes of his mother. He liked to jump on the shadows created by the moonlight as they bounced off the surrounding buildings and this always made her laugh. “What you laughing at woman?” A deep resonating voice demanded.
L A Traynor/2005
The Beautiful Hour “Just that little black kitten up on the roof.” Her laughter rode on the crest of her smile. “Well give me those gourds so I can hold that big laughing body next to mine”, he ordered. And she did. And he held his big beautiful wife to him in the middle of the Thursday market under the hot African sun. And they laughed for the joy of each other.
L A Traynor/2005