Feeling a little blue,... by Nicole Alesich

Portraits of women

I look at my regular customer, Mrs Garcia, and I wonder how I am going to afford the books for my son, José, given the tight margins I am making selling groceries. I feel hot and sweaty in the close confines of my shop. My mouth is fixed in a smile but I feel sleepy and ready to close up shop for the afternoon siesta break. It is time to be with my family and to reckon the accounts. Perhaps things are not so bleak as I think. The shop floor under my feet is rough and through my slippers, I feel every bump of the uneven roughly-made floor. The fan overhead barely causes a ripple in the hot and heavy air inside the shop. Outside, I can hear the local children playing soccer on the side road and my son calling out a foul from further back. The sun shines hotly through the heavy material blinds. Mrs Garcia finally makes up her mind as to what groceries she will buy today and which she can postpone until next week. I add up her bill and put it on her tab. She says her husband will be paid on Friday and he will call passed and settle the account after then.

I smile and chat and farewell my last customers for the morning and close up shop. My son, José, runs up to me at the shop door and leans lovingly on me and takes my basket. “Mum, I just scored five goals for our team. Mr Rodriguez says I should join them for club training on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He said he thinks I have lots of potential with the right kind of training”. I smile lovingly at him, happy for his joy and infectious energy.

Last modified onFriday, 21 May 2021 06:36
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