PHOTO PROMPT © Janet Webb
Three days, four nights they waited, staring dry-eyed across the waves, at slate water torn to feathers by the wind.
Shawls pulled tight around their shoulders, the women stood apart, like the rocky weathered stacks at the bay’s mouth, holding strong under fierce gales and knife sharp rain.
Only when the first splintered board hit the shore did they start to crumble. And as the boats returned as match wood – fresh delivered to their feet with every crashing breaker – another woman shattered and another, until no wives remained.
As it’s the summer hols and writing time is scarce, I’ve combined this prompt with today’s Word for Wednesday, today’s word being WIDOW.
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word comes down from the Old English widewe and it had many variations throughout Europe, among them the Dutch weduwe and weeuw, Old High German wituwa, German Witwe, Gothic widuwo, all linked to the Latin viduus meaning ‘bereft or void’.
Widow’s peak came about because that hairline was supposed to foretell early widowhood, echoing as it did the cap worn by bereaved wives.
The term grass widow is fascinating, at times meaning ‘mistress’ developing into a woman who pretends to be married but isn’t. It could also mean a woman whose husband has disappeared (either presumed dead or through desertion) and a woman who has had children outside marriage.
All bad news for the women, then.
Thanks to Kat, the founder of W4W.