onsdag 25 augusti 2010

A Sign

It´s Three Word Wednesday. The words: abstain, halo, prayer.

I´m not playing it safe this week, using expressions, words, prepositions etc where they might not fit very well... Anyhow, it´s a good thing, I´m out of my comfort zone =) It might have messed with the fluency of the text, though, as things might come off as awkward or plain weird. If so: I´m sorry, and please tell me where I´ve got it wrong so that I might learn!

A Sign

I leave in the morning smog, my trolley loaded with raffle. I sell at the big market Wednesdays and Saturdays, and at the smaller one nearby on the other days. Sometimes, if it´s busy, I get to help out with the vegetables and then maybe I can take some home with me.

When I come home my sisters and brothers are playing on the dump. Someone told me it said in the newspaper that kids shouldn´t be on the dump because the junk might be toxic, radioactive even, but where would they go? This is where we live and anyway, they need to collect my raffle.

I sweep our shack and go to get some water, when the kids return I have the porridge ready. Afterwards we do the dishes and I make them wash themselves and clean their teeth, I will nag about this because we´re not bad people, mamá used to say.

They say their prayers and go to bed and I sing to them as I do the final tidying for the night. It´s nice, peaceful, and I listen to their breathing slow down as I put the cloth on our box table. It´s a pretty piece of cloth, purple with red stripes. I was lucky to find it, almost untarnished and brightly coloured, I try to keep it clean. María picks those yellow flowers that grow all over the dump and I keep them in a glass on the table. The yellow goes well together with the purple, I think.

Before it gets really dark I step outside and go through the raffle they brought home. I make two piles, and then I put the useful stuff in the trolley, the other pile goes back to the dump. As the kids grow, they get better at finding good stuff, but they still drag home lots of fancy, worthless junk. María´ll take anything that glitters and Miguel likes big things with shiny surfaces. But, as I said, they get better, they have to, the competition for things easy to sell is tough on the dump.

When I think I´m finished, and it´s too dark to see anyway, something weird catches my eye. It´s very small and I could easily have missed it, but it´s pulsating with a dim light and I freeze, suddenly spooked.

I take some deep breaths to calm down and I tell myself I´m being stupid, but when I reach out to touch it, it moves! Sweet Jesus, my poor heart skips a beat and in an instant I´m all covered in goose-bumps.

But then I hear the rattling sound as it moves over the concrete surface and I recognize the step of the cucaracha. I deftly catch it, no cucaracha is too fast for me, and then I get to examine it closer. It looks like an ordinary one, hard and oval and dark brown, only it´s surrounded by this light, a green halo that glows softly around it. It´s surreal, supernatural and I can´t stop watching it, this beautiful creature caught in my hand. I find myself hoping it´s a magical sign from mamá.

I keep it in a matchbox beside my bed and I sleep like a baby, feeling so safe.

When I come home the next day it´s dead. The kids played with it and the taste in my mouth is bitter when I touch its broken body, the halo still intact, but I abstain from punishing them, what good would it do?

María´s been playing with it the entire day, making a house for it in the box, with tiny furniture made of paper and pebbles and pieces of glass and metal. I let her keep it.

Darling María, she´s getting so pale, I must try to get some vegetables soon.

onsdag 18 augusti 2010

Groupie Ambitions

It´s "Three Word Wednesday". The words: grimace, phase, stumble.

Groupie Ambitions

Looking back at it, I can clearly see I was going through a phase. I would like to call it my ´troubled teenager´ phase, but to be honest, it was more like a ´I crave sex with musicians´ kind of phase.

That night, my favourite local band played and I was determined to earn true groupie status by sleeping with one of them, anyone of them.

I wore my favourite black top, some skirt with bohemian ambitions and heels, of course. The party was held in the basement of the place where they had played, and had the right worn down, rocker kind of look. I was thrilled when I entered, when I had my first glass of red wine and when the deliciously bad boys of the band arrived. Thrilled, thrilled, thrilled – this was going to be my night.

An excessive amount of alcohol later, I approached the pretty, dark one that always wrote their lyrics. I don´t know why I thought I had to impress him, honestly, to just reveal my intentions would probably have worked like a charm.

”Have you ever thought about the words ´passion´and ´illusion´,” I spluttered, ”I think they´re great together, I think you should use them.”

I leaned closer to him, showing some cleavage and feeling pretty good about myself. The faint grimace of repulsion that ghosted over his face was probably due to some bitter tang in his drink or whatever.

” ´Burn´ is a good one too,” I continued, my movements growing wilder and my personality scattered all over the place. ”You should definitely use that one.”

I tried to look at him, but found that I really couldn´t focus. He turned away and started talking to someone else. I think I probably stood there for a good five minutes before I got the hint.

At least no one laughed when I stumbled away, I´m sure no one noticed.