Monday, 20 December 2010

Solstice market

El clutches it in his hands. It is precious, the last element of his life that makes him the person he is. There is a faint glow; the amorphous shape seems to try and slip through his fingers. He holds it tight but without pressure, as though it is a live butterfly.
The marketplace is busy. There are many here; the greedy and the desperate, the curious and the disapproving. Addicts chatter amongst themselves, clutching to the edges of tables and rambling in forgotten languages. Smells of food and urine mix with the mud. Lights flicker around the edges of the stalls, their brilliance clashing with each other, points of hope amonst the darkness to lure in the customers aided by shouts and harangues. Jugglers toss fire amongst themselves over the heads of children who stare, wild-eyed and feral. Garlic is crushed and rubbed into meats to be roasted with cinnamon and paprika. Silent, darkened faces mingle while hands seek purses and jewellery. The rich whistle amongst themselves, daring each other to greater debts of remembrance. Jars of memories glow, gentle opals, vermillion and crimsons spin and wrap themselves into marble-eye threads.
“It’s all I have.” He says.
The buyer looks at him with distaste. The buyer is bloated with memory. El knows the type, the ones who do not live their own lives but grow on the lives of others; the light seeps from his eyes.
El shakes his head. He cannot let it go for that. Without it he is nothing remaining. Some part of him knows that ten is too small a price to pay to lose that.
“Fifteen.” He replies. He is scared by his own defiance. If the sale fails, if he cannot find the money then more than his self will be lost.
The buyer shrugs. Inspects the tiny, blurring ball of light in his hands.

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