I was at the corner of an intersection in town waiting for the traffic signal to change when I saw her.
Yeah. She was across the street . . .
And not alone.
That was the thing: she was pushing a buggy with a child, a 6-month old child, sitting in it.
How did Akané look to you?
Pretty as always. She was still wearing her hair long and straight, the way I liked it. But something didn’t seem right.
She didn’t look like a woman who had given birth.
She was still thin as a rail, and her breasts lacked that certain . . . “buoyancy”, if you will.
What you are trying to say is that it was evident to you Akané wasn’t lactating.
Yeah. I’ve always had something of an eye for that.
That’s odd, Peadar. I always took you for an arse, man.
Nothing, nothing. Anyways, you were going to say that for a fleeting moment there you thought Akané had given birth.
Well, yeah. I hadn’t heard anything about her for over a year. So, it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities.
No, I don’t suppose it was.
So, whose kid was it?
A friend’s. Akané was babysitting, playing Mommy, while her friend shopped.
I’ve always been curious about something.
And that is?
Akané noticed me that day, didn’t she?
I thought so.
She was only pretending not to have seen you. She wanted you to think the child was hers. She wanted you to be jealous. She had heard through the grapevine that you weren’t happy. Akané wanted you to think she was absorbed in raising her child when in fact she was as alone and miserable as ever.
The first installment/chapter of A Woman's Hand can be found here.
A Woman's Hand and other works are available in e-book form and paperback at Amazon.