Adsactly Fiction: The Fish Vendor on 11th Street
The Fish Vendor on 11th Street
When I finished shopping at the market, I saw my mother holding my hand and telling me that we would go to 11th Street. She walked quickly, with a bag in one hand and my hand clutched in the other. I was carrying a bag of fruit. We crossed the street in front of us and as we crossed it, a smell of the sea and fish permeated everything. Because of the speed with which my mother walked, I could not ask her any questions. So I just sped up and kept quiet. When we arrived at a shop, it was full of people, who were chatting animatedly among themselves. My mother stood at the end of the line and greeted everyone as if they were old friends.
At the front of the store, two young boys and a man were serving the customers. With smiles and kind words, the old man spoke to each of the customers. The old man was tall, a little bent over the years. His wrinkled face was not ugly, but he was tanned by the sun and the saltpeter. Many who were in line, engaged in the conversation by making jokes and affectionate comments. The camaraderie in the air was obvious, as was the confidence. Many of the customers, though they did not say what they were going to take, their orders were heavy and expertly wrapped. It was as if the vendors already knew in advance what they would be bringing home. My childish mind did not realize that this was a sign of how assiduous the customers were to the store, of the habit, the practice, the tradition.
When it was our turn, my mother smiled at the old man and just said, "I'll take the same thing as always. The old man gave a signal to the young people who prepared to wrap the order. The old man called my name and asked me about a flu I had last month. He also asked me how I was doing in school and about my little dog Laika. He asked my mother about Grandma, Aunt Leticia who had gone away on a trip and if she had any more stomach problems. With nobility he asked her to bring the leaves of a bush to make a tea, a pineapple candy that his wife had made and a jar of snails in vinegar. My mother thanked him, took the things and we started walking home. It was still early and the sun was already roasting the city.
Years later, when I grew up and had to go to college, I decided not to. At first my mother cried because she felt that part of her, as a mother, had failed. At that moment she blamed the loves I had with Alicia, also a group of friends that I always sat in the square with. Then she resigned herself, she had no choice. My mother never knew, not even on her deathbed, that from that day on I went to the market with her, I wanted to be like that fisherman on 11th Street, who was appreciated and respected by the whole town, and whose work made all his customers happy. Now, after forty years, I am fifty years old and all I have left is the memory of that moment and a fish sale on 11th Street, where I daily fulfill my dream: to make others happy.
I hope you enjoyed reading. I remind you that you can vote for @adsactly as a witness and join our server in discord. Until the next smile.
Written by: @nancybriti