She stopped at the stall on Bourda Street and looked around before quietly asking the price of a slice of pumpkin. The vendor answered quickly before turning to another customer as the woman cautiously sifted through the notes in her purse.
“But you not selling me?” the woman asked a little louder.
“I can’t wait on you whole year. I gat other customers,” the vendor responded sharply, almost too sharply. Maybe she was not having a good day.
“Well I tell you! This is the way they does treat customers,” the woman said with a shake of her head.
She was about to walk away from the stall when the vendor’s male partner called her back.
“Come aunty, leh me sell you man, don’t bother,” he said in a soothing voice. His calm manner was the antithesis of his fulminating partner’s.
The woman hesitated but returned and purchased the pumpkin. “Sometimes I don’t able,” she said, as she moved away.
“No, but really people does believe you begging them to sell you, when it should be the other way around,” she said as she ambled to another stall close by. She priced an item, went to her purse and slowly took out the notes.
“Things getting so expensive now is soon you can’t come to the market anymore,” she said. “You know is every week I come to the market is another price for a vegetable? I does get pay weekly and is every time I collect me salary is the market I does come to first. But like when you done nothing left. And you know I is a single parent so you know it very hard for me, very hard.” She continued speaking to no one in particular. It seemed she just needed to vent.
“Is two boys and one girl I have on me own you know and is like the more I buy the more them eating,” she said.
“Well you know when children grow is more food they eating,” another woman finally said, interrupting her soliloquy.
“Yeah, I know. But the more they eat is like the more things going up. How we suppose to survive in this country?” she asked rhetorically.
She stopped shopping and turned to the lone person who had engaged her. “You have children?” she asked. Not waiting for a response, having glanced at the woman’s hand, she continued, “But you have husband so is two of you, so it can’t be that hard.”
The other woman nodded.
There was an extended period of silence. Then she said, “But even if you marry, life still hard for you. Anyways girl let me go and buy these few things and go home to me children. Tomorrow is school and you know how it go, homework and then you have to prepare for tomorrow. And if you don’t wake up early is everybody late.”
“Well you enjoy your afternoon, it was nice talking to you,” she said as she slowly ambled to another stall.
She clearly was not finished venting though. As she got to the next stall, she struck up a conversation with someone else. Maybe a weekly sojourn at Bourda Market was her way of dealing with the vicissitudes of life. From the looks of it, buying a few things was going to take a while.