She

There they go again, she thought to herself. Miss High-and-Mighty and Miss I’m-Better-Than-You.

She watched them walk by, their noses turned up as if she smelled of decay or skunk-spray. Inwardly, she laughed. Her mirth threatened to overtake her, so she just let it out, her raucous laughter startling the two women passing by.

The two glared at her, hatred barely concealed on their made-up faces. She laughed harder, daring them to say something, anything, but they stalked onward.

“G’day to you,” she laughed at their backs. “Hope ya choke on it.”

The women didn’t hear her, or at least pretended not to. She watched them leave, shaking her head at the absurdness of them.

She continued on her way, swaying hips leading the way. She was strong, too strong to pay much attention to the stares, the whispers drifting along in her wake. She knew they all talked, all speculated, behind her back. She didn’t care. Not much. She was used to it.

From the rumors, you’d think she was a demon spawned straight from an unholy place instead of a wife, a mother, a woman. The rumors spread like wildfire, fanned by who-knows-what. Probably people who knew nothing of her and didn’t try.

Not a party-girl, not a drug-addict, not a criminal, but also not a church-goer, not a witness-to-his-glory, to any him. She was, simply, a woman, with a mind of her own, who held opinions on most things. She didn’t try to change anyone, she didn’t try to convert followers to her ways. She read, she talked, she lived, she loved, she mothered, she wanted, she needed, she simply was.

But to the listeners of rumors, she was everything to be reviled, feared, hated. Despite giving no reasons, she was deemed untrustworthy, unlovable, unnatural.

She tried not to care. But in the lonely silence of her fortitude, she cried.

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