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Posts Tagged ‘market’

I’m ready for a challenge. I’m at Spitalfields on a Sunday, one hour, two important items to find and a mulled wine appointment to keep. I touch everything at the handmade paper stall and try on short dresses. Wrapped in a Tibetan blanket, you have silk trimming across your chest and feathers decorating your fringe. I’m at home here. I try on hairbands and you readjust the beads for me. I tell you how long I’ve been looking for you and you laugh gloriously into your hands. Nearby, a dog as big as a pony barks terrified at the crowd.

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You speak of inconsequential things: petty cash, sandwiches and bank fees. I glance at the stall but am burdened the pressures of time and the wretched weather. I pick up a teacup and your eyes dart towards me. You could have asked! I apologise and, as atonement, I begin to order other items I have touched. You slap my hand away. I think this: I browse and – if I buy or if I don’t – my day is still crowned with purpose. The search is reason enough. For you, the disdain for me is a culmination of all your failed sales.

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Both of you are drinking wine. The shop is dusty and lacy. I pick handkerchiefs out of a basket whilst you hear each other’s opinions on Paul O’Grady. He should have his own prime time show. The jokes he tells! I lean on the counter and talk about my grandma’s compact, how it smashed when I dropped it down an escalator. I’d forgotten this sadness. You show me a mirror decorated with a thistle, once owned by another person’s relative. Your friend rummages inside her handbag, desperately seeking something. I smile an attempt at a smile and arrow towards the door.

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There’s music in my ears but I can still hear the sound my shoes make on the pavement, clashing against the ground like a ticking clock. My mouth has been sealed shut since I woke and no one has looked me in the eye. Our exchange is slight. I take my fruit and offer you the exact change in an open palm. You don’t react, only pick the money with fingerless gloves. I want to not give you anything, not share myself. I want you to not hear my voice. I can’t think about anything if I have to talk.

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