Friday, 4 December 2015


  Joseph watched Rhia tug up one long sleeve, exposing her small brown hand. She grasped the handle of a grocery basket at the top of the stack, and as the basket bounced to her side, her sleeve fell down again, concealing the only skin that showed below her face. He pressed his own large hand into her back and guided her inside.
  They moved along the outer edge of the store, avoiding the dusty shelves and the ragged-looking men the prowled and pawed at the boxes and bins along the inner aisles. At the small selection of fruits and vegetables, Joseph let her go, the warmth of her shoulder lingering on his palm. He picked up an apple, examined it, and discarded it for the bruises and blotches on its skin. He selected another and, turning it over in his dark hands, decided it would have to do. He dropped it into the basket, and caught her eye. Quickly, so none of the other men would see, he wiggled his eyebrows. Rhia had to look away to stifle her smile. He returned his hand to her back and led her on.
Together, they made their way through the store, gathering food and supplies they would need for the week. The basket full and Joseph's mental list all crossed off, they went to check out.
  "Morning, Joseph," the man behind the counter greeted them. His skin was the color of sand under fluorescent light.
  Joseph saw the man's pale-brown eyes dart quickly over Rhia, from her floor-length skirt to her long sleeves and high neckline. "Morning, Higbee." Joseph said. "Just a few things this week." He nodded to Rhia, and she began unloading their items onto the conveyor belt.

"I see you brought your daughter in again."

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