She felt a grasp of a strong hand on her wrist. So strong that the blood almost drained from the tips of her fingers.
– It’s dangerous. Someone could recognize you – he said.
At the market in Manfredonia, as in a kaleidoscope, winded forward native people, horses, carts and boats of the merchants, local and out-of-town, it smelled of fruit, shellfish, ginger, cardamom and cassia, imported from far way. She remembered like not so long ago, thanks to her strong will and stubbornness, they met here, in this place. “I am Torismondo. And you? Please, reveal your name to me.” „ I am the one who commands the streams and reflects the light of the moon”, resonated back in her memory.
– We need to go.
– One moment more – asked Giuturna fascinated by circus-like mixture of sounds, shapes and colours. Even more than the colourful fabrics what tempted her were the stands full of patterned cowries, from almost white and slightly dotted, to those resembling the fur of wild cats and the eyes on the butterfly wings. The bottom side of these tiny shells gave indistinguishable illusion of the female door to paradise, giving pleasure and life. Women milled around picking through them completely leaving their senses. Not so long ago they sacrificed them to the Goddess of Love. Nowadays were still buying them for the charms protecting from infertility and helping maintain pregnancy.
– Take it – the woman behind the counter pulled her hand towards Giuturna noticing her interest. On her hook-like middle finger swayed a necklace made of tiger cowries. Smooth, as precious china, it’s surface glistened reflecting warm rays of sun.
– It will protect you from the curse. There are people who don’t wish you well… – said the woman. Giuturna looked her deeply in the eyes to check if she was telling the truth. They probed each other for a few seconds before she took from her the ornaments. After all it was just a cunning fishwife, adept at selling her stock, why on earth she should trust her? Who knows why, but these words resonated deeply somewhere inside of her being, activating a familiar recognition. Either this woman really was a seer or in this very moment, completely outside of her awareness, the universe used her to talk to Giuturna and warn her. Six of one and half a dozen of another. Cypraea lurida caught in the surrounding waters hang on her red-hot cleavage cooling it gently. She grasped Toridmondos’ hand clenched around her pulse and, climbing with her eyes up his shoulder, she put it on the cowries.
– What do you feel? – she asked finally laying her sight on his face. He was pale as a corpse.
– We are leaving now – he proclaimed.
– …. I want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, – in that moment reached the ears of them both. Amidst the dust of the market a man dressed in black recited holy books – A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner – Torismondo pulled her powerfuly and dragging her behind him accelerated his pace. This time she did not resist. She knew what awaited her, if anybody found out who she was.