Abia stared at herself in the reflection of the blurry River Roja. When the wind was high its jade green waters gushed fast and wild like her imagination. When the gales settled, so it did, reduced to silent ripples.
She had never thought of herself to be womanly. She gazed at her slender frame, with no noticeable hips and wondered if she would ever look the way her mother did. Rose was comfortingly shapely with porcelain skin and cheeks that ran her namesake plushy pink when she sat out in the sun. She often caught the eyes of the townsfolk, her own a rarity gift, two azure stones that imitated the ocean. She was a breath of fresh air, naturally beautiful.
Abia crouched on the riverbank, brought her knees up to her chest and clutched her elbows. Bony and cold. She was a lot darker than her mother, with thick hair and sunken eyes that were almost black. As a child her frame was her advantage. It was easier to run and climb trees, she was quick and agile and could keep up with the boys in her village. Although she tried to fight the feeling, now as a young woman, she felt inadequate, incomplete.
Arriving to Merolas she had had her fair share of attention from the local niños (boys), especially the ones in Rainbow. When they climbed trees to pick ripen nectarines, (no longer a race, she could still beat them to the top) she would glance down and catch them staring up her skirt. She noticed they hurled remarks at anyone and everyone. Old escorias (prostitutes), even mother’s with children. Sometimes she saw them flicking through Mr Avedias magazines, sniggering in suggestive slang.
She peered again at her reflection, held in the river. A leaf fell silently off an oak above it’s landing sending ripples through the liquid turquoise. Her thoughts glided to Tariq. When he looked at her, she wondered what he saw.
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