Raw

On my way into the Abbotsford Convent Farmer’s Market, I see children
throwing back their blue or pink hoodie jackets to line up next to the board:
Milk The Cow

Invite scrawled in rainbow-color chalk. Waking up this early is almost too
much for me. People are faded against a neon green of tree foliage, and even
the bludgeoning blue of an oncoming sky, not to mention the ferocity with
which cars are making their way into the parking gates. My vehicle is on the
street where the metre restrictions are freed for the weekend.

Couple are leaning into each other but with practical faces, as if they
learnt love in a textbook. Smooch! Perhaps this is the way to buy basil or kale.
In a late night spell, I friended an eighteen year old on FB, but when I
checked his feed, it wasn’t too bad.

I accidentally fell in love when I was eleven, with a teacher who used Bryl
cream in his hair and moustache. I realized much later how that kind of feeling
was not happiness. But now what?

The pomengranate stall is back and I wait in the queue for my two dollar
shot, and then I spend almost my whole munching budget on the superfood
smoothie they decided to add to the menu. The blender seems vintage. It’s
not very Chinese Medicine to eat raw, and I will likely get diarrhea, but my
brain is yet to wake up.

Hey lovely, someone is calling out, and I turn to see one of my
classmates, wearing her curly hair al fresco. She has been helping me with
my finding my next home, telling me to scrub my age and invert it, for the
house sharing responses. You could so do thirty six, she said.
She gives me a massive hug. She is just turned twenty-one. I am learning
from her.

***

Girija Tropp’s fiction has been appearing in ELJ and New World Writing recently. Her work has also made its way into several Best Australian Short Stories editions, and has been published in The Boston Review, Agni, and various other journals. She has won or been short-listed for major awards. She lives in Australia.