Today's offering is another bit which I'm adding to my SF novel. Dutch is facing his own betrothment, and flashes back to a couple of other incidents, including this one:
Seven-year-old Dutch, his face still puffy from the attack in the alley, clutched his mother’s hand as she marched down the strip. She was wearing her dancing clothes, and had covered her hair and skin with glitterdust. Odd, because she hadn’t been working yet, and odder still because she had insisted that Dutch wear his best clothes.
They came to a crowd clustered tight around a screaming street preacher. Normally his mother would have crossed the street, but this time she pushed into the crowd and forced her way to the front.
The preacher, a tall man with an earnest look on his dark face, noticed her. "Daughter of Satan! Child of temptation! Turn back, before you bring destruction on all around you!"
"I didn’t come to repent," his mother said.
"Then why are you here?" His voice roared.
"I am a wanton woman, Hosea. I dance for men and incite lust in their hearts." She tossed her hair proudly.
"And who is this child?"
"Proof of my unfaithfulness."
He paused and cocked his head. "What is your name, Daughter of Satan? What shall I call you?"
"Call me Gomer, if you will."
Dutch frowned. His mother was called Cece by her friends, and Cecelia by her family, not Gomer. It wasn’t a pretty name.
But Hosea seemed impressed. "Will you always be an unfaithful woman?"
"As unfaithful as I am now."
"Then you will be Gomer. Come, stand in my shadow, woman, and when the children have been fed, we will talk."
His mother didn’t move. "My son, too."
"No just man would take the ass and leave the foal," Hosea replied. "My cloak will cover you both."
Dutch’s mother pulled him to the steps behind Hosea and sat him down. And there Dutch heard the first of many sermons on the sanctity of the wedding bed, and the faithful of a wife to a husband. And he puzzled – if faithfulness was good, why had the preacher like his mother’s promise of unfaithfulness?