Mama always says, “With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.”
I’ve been in the fields since I was old enough to lead a plough horse. Dirty work. Rich manure might fertilize crops, but the filth never quite leaves my nails, even in the winter. No amount of soaking in a tub or scrubbing with lye soap helps. On Sundays, I hide my hands in the pockets I beg my mother to sew into all my clothes.
“Vanity,” she says, shaking her head, but putting the pockets in anyway. “Pride goeth before a fall, Priscilla.”
Every day, sowing and reaping, season after season, year after year. Until the day he comes.
Dark, everywhere. Skin, eyes, hair. Dark, with long legs that devour the ground. I swear it trembles under his feet.
I can feel it the second he meets my eyes across the wide stretch of seed rows. He knows me. Knows the things I think, things so much worse than vanity or pride. Destruction. Burning the fields. Ruining the crops. Ending the monotony. No longer bound to the land, but the master of it, and so much more.
He looks at me as if the foulness under my fingernails is the truest part of me.
And now that he’s here, I don’t have to hide it anymore.