Monday, September 19, 2011

Crying for Blantyre Flea Market Vendors

A day never passed without me going to the Blantyre Flea Market; that is, whenever I was in Blantyre Central Business District, and the time was on me.
I used to go a man, a man with a small shop, little voice, and portable wife. He is a good man, this one- with his small shop, voice and...oh, I now remember: he sits on a small chair, too; a chair that, to him, is big enough for comfortability!
Did I say the chair 'is'?
No, I was not supposed to 'speak' like that. That chair, small and black and worn out, is now gone. Diluted in the fire that started, according to unofficial reports, early this morning.
Now, that is sad news.
Sad because in the small shop of my small friend with a relatively 'small' wife was what I have come to accept as 'the smallest room with the biggest cash'. Yes, that's how it was.
The shop was so full of everything. Everything digital. Everything up-to-date. Everything that matters in the lives of people so eaten up by the digital age.
It was a small shop, yes, one that would not have enough room to accommodate 10, 000 mice.
But there were millions of Kwacha in that shop; literally millions.
They were there, these millions, as my friend and his happy wife went home yesterday evening. They have been doing this for the past three years- going home in the evening, to eat and drink and sleep. They would, then, come back the following morning. Smartly dressed. Always smiling.
They were two, always; my friend and his wife. When he was away, the wife would stay in the shop. When she was away, he would be in the shop.
Rumour has it that the wife found the shop. That the wife found the man and the job. That is, they met when the shop was already there with the man.
Evenings are the only time they both went home, leaving nobody in the shop.
If anything, they left 'hope' in the shop.
They did the same yesterday; like the rest of the vendors, going home. Leaving hope and watchmen and the full darkness. It was dark yesterday the starts went to sleep.
Today, going back to their office at the Blantyre Flea Market, they found it razed to the ground by fire. Gutted by the cowardly fire that came under the cover of darkness.
All their property is gone. Their millions gone.
When I heard the news that Blantyre Flea Market was gone, I rushed there to see my friend.
I found him, and his wife, at the entrance.
They were crying.
Tears rolling down their cheeks.
Tears that never seemed to cease.

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