It is two o’clock and Merche knows that her husband and son are at home, waiting for lunch.
She puts the remaining fish—two slippery eels; three flounder; and half a salmon, its flesh plump like a toddler’s—into the refrigerator. As she shuts the door and unties her apron, a woman approaches and asks if she has any sardines. She’d put them aside for the stray cats because they were two days old already, but she says yes, there are seven left.
The woman speaks with a languid South American accent, dropping S’s from the ends of words as if they were too much to ask of her. She wears a coat made of canvas and several silver rings with colored stones. Merche puts the sardines onto a hanging scale. Almost a kilo. She pushes the scale with her finger as she turns the dial to face her and gets them to weigh just over. She tells the woman the price as though she were giving a discount.
“Four euros is fine,” she says. “Está bien.”
To read more, visit ALR’s site.