She couldn’t get a wink of sleep. Every time Ree closed her eyes a story began playing behind her lids, usually the same one for a while. It had to do with a woman who’s afraid of being in love falling for some Italian guy. What is it with them Italian men? Huh. Finally after having enough of not having any sleep at all she got up and tip toed out, into the hall and tothe bathroom, ggrabbing a box of chai on the desk.
The clock read 4:25 AM and she got out her phone, selected the playlist and clicked on the stopwatch. She danced. She danced on the rug and cold white tiles, to Ricky Martin, to Elvis, to Brian Adams, to Sting and Neil Diamond. Ree could safely say that she had danced like no one was looking, because well, no body was. She felt her muscles loosen and her body get hotter. She felt alive and wide awake when some people were fortunate enough to sleep at all.
In between she threw in squats, lunges and twists (Cup of Life …), clapping, finger snapping and swaying to Cherry Cherry and lost it with Livin’ La Vida Loca. In the early hours this seemed ridiculous but at the same time, why not? She could say one day years later ‘this one time when I couldn’t shut my eyes I danced in the bathroom at heaven’s knows what time, and damn did it feel good’, have a good laugh over it then and remember. She had danced for twelve minutes.
After a bath she slipped into a comfy clashing set of PJs and tiptoed back in front and slid the glass window open. The cool, crisp morning breeze welcomed her with a caress, and to the sight below. The market was a bimonthly event here. The vendors set up their wooden stalls the night before with length of zinc sheets nailed on to the tops, blue tarps were thrown up here and there under which people walked about under the dusky blue sky. This early you’d get good vegetables and fruits and later in the day the prices depreciate with the condition of the produce.
The air was filled with the unintelligible babble of sellers and their customers, bargains were struck, curses were flung and all that noise that filled these places. The sounds mingled with the scents of herbs, the fresh thyme with jalapenos and a medley of others of what can be bought but so far the air was still sweet and hardly tainted, unlike later during midday with the sweat added to the mix.
As the sky got brighter the colourful layout beneath stood out more, it was beautiful with nice plump pumpkins stacked over there by the plant lady, the pretty purples of the eggplants, and the rainbow of fruits sprinkled about, plus the various hues of pinks, blues, yellows and greens worn by the constantly moving crowd. She saw a Rasta carry a bunch of brooms over his shoulder and by the looks of it they were fresh and green as well, midribs newly stripped off from the coconut branches. It would have been better still if some of those people actually didn’t despise her. That was something Ree accepted when she was younger, not everyone will like you and pleasing anyone was mostly stupid and pointless so just deal with it and have less to do with them. Life was fine enough so far.
Above the many heads, birds were calling out to one another, fluttering around, some went as low to perch on a donkey cart only to flit away seconds later into the nest it made in an old lamp post shade a few feet away. There were the trees whose leaves played together and made a sound that sounded like the ocean, overlapping and peaceful. It was an orchestra, man and nature coming together in a sort of harmony. The clouds above were a splendid touch to this painting, the darker purple ones chasing westwards in hope of clinging to the last traces of dawn against streaks of pinks and oranges, slowly bleached to the uniform of the day. Inevitable, but they still try anyway. She liked that.
And she stood there taking it all in with Mozart softly flowing in her ears melting her into her surroundings. It was another day with new possibilities, another encouragement of our Mother that even she doesn’t give up, not so easily so why should we? Discouragement in his many forms could only hold you in a suspension but the time doesn’t stop. Move along. Ree had a class in a next few hours, being half ready she lingered there for a while longer. But then there was a lovely bag of tea waiting to be brewed, so with not a final glance outside she smiled to the world and said softly, “Here I come”.
P.S: All the pictures were taken by myself.