The crowd has already begun to gather by the time I reach the market place. Everything is sold here, everything can be bought. Melons, meat, corn, gold, silver, jewelry. Slaves. I look away when I pass their pens, because the sight still turns my stomach. It wasn’t so long ago that I was up on a block like that, chained up with the rest.
I have no desire to be put back again.
I lead my little donkey into the crowd, find a place in a far corner from the slave market, and spread my rug. My wares are all brought from the east, purchased from caravans that bring them in from Egypt, the Middle East, Jerusalem, Morocco. Everywhere. My little donkey carries everything, and I pat his nose and give him his grain before I set out the wares.
The finest silks, pearls from the east, bronze lamps, copper pots. All of it purchased with my own coins. I look at each of them proudly before I set them on the rug. Slaves don’t sell things like these. Merchants do. And I am a merchant, in my own small way. No one has to know how I came to be one, or where I started out. Slaves in great houses can’t earn money, not the way I can.
No one has to know that I still have men on my tail. They won’t find me anyway. It’s been too long, and I’ve come too far. They will never find me now.