I walked to the little open-air market this morning, intending to buy plums and peanuts. Instead, I came home with honey. Here’s how it happened:
As I neared the entrance to the market, a little girl dressed in blue asked me in Spanish if I wanted to buy some honey. I brushed her off with a terse, “No, gracias,” and entered the market.
I walked the entire length of the market, about three city blocks, looking for plums and peanuts in vain. The fruit seller who had treated me like royalty in June was not there, neither was the woman who sold nuts and snacks.
Reluctantly, I started back to my apartment with an empty shopping bag.
The little girl dressed in blue materialized on the sidewalk before me, her arms laden with plastic containers of golden honey.
“Cuantos pesos?” I asked in my limited Spanish.
She told me the small container cost 35 pesos and the large container 80 pesos.
I asked if she had change. She said I could get some in the little tienda a few steps away.
“Buenos días,” I said to the shopkeeper, who recognized me from the summer, and smiled.
In a mixture of dreadful Spanish and English, I asked if he could give me change for a 50-peso banknote so that I could buy honey from the little girl dressed in blue.
He could, and he did. I thanked him, and went outside to pay for the honey that was never on my shopping list.
The little girl dressed in blue went off to find her next customer.
last day of autumn—
sweeping leaves from the gutter
with a well-worn broom
Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved