Shiny Things

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Down that winding road, she walks with her eyes closed, guided by her senses and the distant scent of fresh fruit and coffee that’s as black as a moonless night. Sticking her nose in the air, it twitches and she sneezes. She glides like a feather in the breeze. Like a kite being flown by a child high on orange squash and life. Her belly’s empty, and yet her veins feel as if they’re flowing with warm honey. And that lingering tingle in her fingers and toes, it makes her move as if she were a puppet connected to the sky by an orchestra of invisible strings. Floating along so oblivious to what’s around her, miles of countryside disappear without her knowing, and as the trees by the side of the road slowly make way for houses, the only thing she’s aware of is the intensity of those scents dancing on the tip of that nose. When she does open her eyes, she sees the local church and the sun in the sky balancing upon the church’s spire that points to the heavens like a finger. Raising her hand to shield her eyes from the light, she thinks about God and if he really is up there after all before deciding such a question should never be tackled on an empty stomach. Beyond the church is a market. It’s market day she says, and as a lorry rumbles past kicking up a gust of empty crisp packets and dirt that spin around her before spinning someplace else, she makes her way on over. The locals are setting up their stalls, and as they talk and laugh among themselves, they don’t notice her at all as she creeps among them eyeing up their wares. It’s food she’s after, and yet like a magpie, she’s drawn to shiny things. On tables dressed with blankets, people she doesn’t recognise organise ornaments and glittery jewellery and crates full of dusty books with torn covers. Old people build displays out of jigsaw boxes and a man with no teeth fills up a basket with potatoes. Rolling a cigarette, he seals the paper with a lick and then begins to juggle his spuds. Two then three then four then five. Throwing them higher and higher, the cigarette sticks to his lower lip as his eyes dart in several directions before he fucks up and they drop to the ground with a thud. One rolls right to her feet, and when she picks it up and goes to hand it to him, he smiles a toothless grin and tells her to keep it. Smiling back, she brings it to her nose and sniffs. She can smell the man’s tobacco and the smell of earth, and in her mind, she pictures that painting by Van Gogh, the muddy one of people sat around a table eating a dish of potatoes. Lost in thought, she places it in her pocket then zigzags around the stalls unaware of where her feet are taking her next.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

13 replies »

  1. You are an excellent storyteller, in the sense that you’d set up this scene of this woman’s adventures, heading out to the marketplace on an ordinary day, excellent work!!!

  2. “Raising her hand to shield her eyes from the light, she thinks about God and if he really is up there after all before deciding such a question should never be tackled on an empty stomach. ”
    Indeed.

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