The Market on the Mainland

Waking unusually early I had decided to pop over to the mainland for a few fresh provisions. The attractions of the bustling market are so much more enticing when on holiday; en vacation as it were. Dressed elegantly in pure linen, an artist style smock coupled with wide legged slacks. An ensemble inspired by Audrey Hepburn who would, of course, be mincing teasingly in cropped cigarette pants.

The weather this morning is pleasant on waking with the promise of perspiration inducing heat by noon.  A gentle breeze caresses my curly blonde bob as the ferry drifts across the estuary. I gaze nonchalantly across at the local population digging for clams on the exposed sandy tongues extending out towards the shore. From behind my fashionably large sunglasses I draw casually on a cigarette and ponder on the perfection of the day.

By 10 am the market stall holders have begun to relax as the peak of business has passed. The testosterone laden fish market contrasts exquisitely with the sensual fruit stalls laden with soft ripe flesh bursting with promise. Keeping my sunglasses firmly on my freckled nose conceals my intense curiosity at the delights in store. The packaging entirely environmentally friendly as the fishermen will doubtless be taking a well earned shower after the early morning!

Bashfully I gesture towards glistening heaps of sardinha’s embarrassed by my limited language skills. Smiling back the sea weathered fishermen in aprons over shorts are only too glad to assist. Rubber boots finish below the knee revealing taut teak oiled thighs providing a reassuring level of support to a torso fashioned from years of hauling in nets. Mr P would seem slight in these human shadows!

Gutting fish has never occurred to me as an activity meriting observation but somehow today the skill of swift sharp knife blades has my undivided attention. Those hands grip me. metaphorically speaking; the powerful water force cleanses everything in its wake. The cold shower catches me as the clean filleted fish is shaken dry.

Protein laden the feminine fruit market soothes me. The figs ooze syrup from the gaping urchin like mouths. Georgia O’Keefe would have brought pleasure to her audience with a delicate brush stroke representation. Only when I can carry no more do I wend my way to the jetty. The anticipation of an oral paradise almost overwhelms me.

Unbeknownst to me Mr P has caught an early ferry and is making his way home at the same time. Focussed on the tarmac walkway I fail to notice the homeward vessel has moved but no matter help is at hand!  Mr P gestures vigorously punctuating jocular conversation with the ferry skipper. Short sleeved blue chambray sleeves reveal his upper arms; the muscles flex as he moves. Flex, relax, flex, relax the low sun twinkles in the beads of perspiration; it is passed noon already.

Seeing me approaching he turns and pauses. Sensing my confusion he breaks his conversation to gently steer me in the right direction. Shyly he nods in response to my grateful answer; my broken Portuguese translates perfectly. His stubbles rough as if he left the house without shaving; if I reach out I could touch him but of course I don’t!

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Filed under Musings of a Contemporary Spinster

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