Market Vignette

The aroma of vanilla floods my nostrils. Somewhere among the clutter of stalls, sweet vanilla cakes are offered to those with a sweet tooth and money to spend. Everyone wandering the stalls here has at least a little money to spend. Or, if not, a little something to trade. Ah, now I smell cinnamon and fish. And the odor of ripe tomatoes competes with coffee for prominence. An old woman, her clothes an explosion of colors against wilted mahogany skin, offers samples of sandía y fresas, watermelon and strawberries. A boy, who I know as Miguel, sees me and waves a mango at me. Today is market day, the day the village converges on the square to buy necessities and luxuries. Fish, cheese, vegetables, quilts, cakes—there’s so much here that my eyes and my brain can’t take it all in. I promised myself that I would spend no more than three hundred and seventy-five pesos, but I can already feel that vow breaking. As I stroll the line of open-air shops, my eyes lock on a striking woman behind a table just in front of me. Her skin is a lighter shade of mahogany than the watermelon woman. Her eyes, as dark as any I’ve ever seen, burrow into mine. She offers a hint of a smile as she nods, almost imperceptibly, inviting me to come her way. The woman is easily twenty years my junior, but I can feel that she is as attracted to me as much as I am to her. And then I see a boy step from behind her. Ah, she has a son. This is not good. But not insurmountable.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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