My heart is so full of grief and my body so burdened by pain that I find it hard to write of the events of the past few days. But I must try.
The day that was to change my life began with no hint of what was to occur. I rose late after another fitful night and dressed reluctantly in my newly acquired widow’s weeds. The black made my skin appear even paler than normal and when I caught a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror, I drew back in shock at the change in my appearance. Not quite nineteen, I looked, and felt, like an old crone. I forced myself to walk down to the bustling market to buy provisions; the stalls of winter vegetables, meat and fish providing splashes of colour against the granite walls. I caught pitying looks from those who would normally have nodded or spoken a greeting. It seemed young widows were objects of pity, to be shunned rather than embraced and consoled.
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