Taye spent most days hard at work in her little shop, her mother and younger brother did most of the fishing while she sold what little they caught.
The state of widowhood was a strange one, it was almost as if she’d moved to a totally new social circle. Because she was so young people expected her to re-marry and yet at the same time somehow re-marrying was also highly disapproved of.
Single women where always highly scrutinized, their movements followed with an unhealthy obsession for what was considered morally correct however as a widow Tayes actions where even more than usually the talk of every gossip in the town. It was almost as if, because she was no-longer considered virginal everyone and their mother was looking for sign’s in her that would prove her morally corrupt.
After a few weeks of running the fish stall, Taye was almost convinced women would come into the shop simply to observe her whispering behind her back “was there more to that fish she’d just sold to that young man?“ they would snigger. Taye found the whole thing particularly hurtful, how dare they question her virtue, especially considering she’d never committed any of the acts the gossips whispered about even when she’d been married never mind now.
Not only that but they questioned everything about Taye’s marriage to Albert, granted Taye could not deny that their marriage had been one of convenience rather than one of love. However she found the stares and disapproving glares hurtful, and felt almost forced to spend more time at Alberts grave than she really felt she needed, eager to play the grieving widow in an effort to convince the gossips she was a good person.
Her mother was very understanding, having lived with gossips her entire life Clara had grown a thick skin, she reassured Taye that it didn’t matter what people thought, as long as she knew the truth nothing else mattered, besides it would stop as soon as Taye found a new husband.
Taye was working hard in the stall, earning enough money to pay the tax’s was exhausting, She’d been living with her mother for almost 2 months they where managing but money was tight. There where plenty of new faces in Grimstead, with the ship loads of soldiers the population of the kingdom had increased dramatically so business was good, however today was proving to be a slow day.
Taye was just about to close the stall for the day deciding to use the rest of day’s light down at the river catching fish for tomorrow. When one of the soldiers from the barracks waked over the stall Taye smiled, she’d seen him before he came regularly buying fish for the Barrack’s kitchens.
Taye never quite understood why he travelled to her village to buy when the fish market on the Darkfire estate was so much closer but she was grateful for the business, he always bought in bulk and she needed the money.
He picked out some fish and Taye wrapped them up handing him the small bundle, he smiled “ business is slow today?”. Taye nodded “I was just about to close up” she answered as he handed her the coin.
The man smiled “then Im glad I didn’t leave ten minutes later, I would have missed you”.
Taye nodded her cheek’s burning up though she didn’t know why; flustered she dropped the coin into her moneybox and got the man his change.
“Can I ask how long its been?” the man asked.
Taye looked up, meeting his gaze “ how long what been?”
“Since you’ve been widowed?” he asked.
Her cheeks burned again and she looked away quickly. “ How did you know I’d been widowed?”
“Your dress, your obviously in mourning” he answered, “I guessed at a husband because you still wear your ring yet I’ve never seen a man helping you run your stall”
“Oh” she answered feeling foolish “ it’s been 3 months”.
The man nodded “ Still to soon then” smiled he bowed his head and turned and began to walk away.
“Too soon for what?” she called after him.
The man turned and grinned, “ You’ll find out”.