Plastic bags hang from curled fingers. Paper bags are wrinkled in the grasp of clenched fingers. Barrels of olives sit at the front of Monsieur Marcel’s French Market: Green, black, purple-brown. The man in line before me buys a loaf of bread for three dollars. I buy tea for four. I make my way through the crowd, people moving, standing, sitting. In their place, finding a place. Hovering over mounds of produce, picking up orange and yellow and green fruits to tests their ripeness with studious fingers. Children stop to look at the dried mangos, pineapples, and pears piled behind glass and get lost in the colors, unsure if they want to eat one or if they’d rather have one to keep, a little chip of sunshine, in their pockets. The crowd is thick. It moves—pulsing in my ears. Sometimes when it’s real quiet and my head is on my pillow, when I can’t sleep, I can hear the blood moving through my earlobe. I can feel the spot where my heart rests in my chest when I see the various reds displayed at Marconda’s Meats. The crowd moves like a twitch in the eye, and I can smell the breath of strangers. Thumping on produce, standing in line, moving through one corridor or another.
My trip to the farmers market ends on a street corner. Bags in hand, we wait, fifteen-or-so of us on this side of the street, fifteen-or-so on the other, to cross. We look at each other from the corners like we’re about to wage war. We line up, ready to move in. To walk and to push our way to the other side. Ready for the cars to stop passing between us. Ready to walk. But we stop looking at each other when it’s our time to move. We look to where we’re going, over people’s heads, as our feet propel us foreword, whether we know where we are going or not.
I can hear the hearts beating as they push past, forever.