African American Inspirational Speculative

Yummy: “Start or end your story in a bustling street food market…”


By Gabriele Micheala Lyman-von Steiger

Belonging, (as the basis of all internalized resolutions), is as tangible as a wave crashing on the sand. It does not reside within or without, nor is it separated by a specific intensity.  Belonging simply is what it means to “be”.  For some this sensation of being is familiar and comforting. For them it is the understanding that they are appreciated by others. That their talents and positive attributes are acknowledged and praised; active acceptance of oneself in any surrounding. The simplicity of a person belonging (whatever that may mean to their individuality) is far more complicated than the thought of an object's ability to“be”.  Objects are the product of something. Not always a thought or idea - A tree did not come about by scientific human contribution - However planting trees, with the understanding that we need them for survival, created a foundation for the production of more trees. Necessity encourages the thought that cause and effect create intentional and entitled belonging. Rarely have I seen this applied to humans and their nature.

Samantha walked swiftly. Unencumbered by the thought of her destination and yet, her mind wandered hopelessly. The displacement of her own memory was like gravity plummeting a boulder off the highest cliff of  self doubt. She felt heavy and shy of the world waking around her. At this moment, the raucous movement that enveloped her path seemed uneven. Making her feeling of unsteadiness grow and thicken. Her normally comfortable walk to work had become something of a harrowing undertaking. So much weighed on Samantha’s beaten shoulders, leaving her mind far away from the safety of home.

 It was early morning, and the market had barely shaken the sleep from all the surrounding storefronts. As Samantha turned the key in the lock of her own market, the small door leading to her shop sighed its usual morning sigh. The morning was like any other and still she could not ignore the confusion she felt in her mind. Attempting to alleviate some of her paws, Samantha turned quickly to close and lock the door behind her. As if such a thing could somehow unimesh her feelings of unease.  Still close to the surface of her thoughts, Samantha could feel the world calling her, her memories of things once new beckoning her to the outside from which she desperately ran. 

The sun had just begun its accent into the dusted blue-black openness, leaving the previously  barren landscape of the sky half full, and wanting. Samantha knew that soon the marketplace would be just as full and open palmed as the sky was to the sun. Turning again to face the front door and windows, Samantha briefly acknowledged her well kept shop. Small antique items of all values lined the shelves and tables, creating a patient and dramatic pause. The shop was her stage, and she was  awaiting the start of her performance. Basking in this familiarity and calm, she began to walk forward, still protected by the unopened curtains. The brevity of this moment was smaller than a grain of sand and just as rough. Though Samantha hadn’t a clue of how this day had come to be so unhappy, she was determined to ignore the urge to walk away from everything she had worked so hard to build.

With spite for herself and the yearning for comfort, Samantha shook away these thoughts and feelings. “This…” she thought weakly, “will get better. It is just another day”. At this she shook her head wondering if there could be a more  sorry attempt at self confidence. With lackluster riding upon her sore shoulders, and with no other option, she once again moved to start the day. 

In a slow arduous set of movements, Samanth grasped the shimmering, silk curtains that hung at the store front windows and flung them aside. Now, the sun was  glowing in its abundance. Streamed ferociously  into the small store surprising Samantha with its brightness. This caused Samantha to stumble. Her feet toppled over one another like children fighting for  their mothers attention. She began falling backwards. Grabbing the window ledge, she shily avoided knocking over one of her favorite displays.

What is wrong with me?” she thought. “That…” she  whispered in her head “is not a good sign”. Samantha had followed these very steps thousands of times and countless mornings before this one…. Why did she falter?

 She was surprised at herself. Surprised by her lack of belonging in a space she was so accustomed to. Something was not right. Today's feelings of bewilderment and shame cut close to her heart. Close to tears, Samantha straightened her posture in defiant anger, still determined and wholesomely resigned not to let this day get the best of her.

The outside world was now wide awake and the din of the street shook Samantha from her paralyzing emotions. Neighbors all around her were opening their shops, unaware of Samantha. Too comfortable with their established morning happenings. Men and women poured from every corner and it seemed they gathered before the marketplace in a choreographed dance. Mopeds and bikes wove in and around the crowds, with shouts of annoyance  closely following them, aware and uncaring. Samantha could hear buses at the corner screeching to a halt to let off masses of travelers and passers by, then rapidly plummeting forward towards the main street. All was as it should be, and where it belonged.

Recovering slightly from her daze, Samantha carefully unhooked the latch on each window of the storefront. With gathered strength, she brought open the windows and was unsurprisingly surprised by what greeted her. The sounds and smells of the marketplace sprung into memories and dreams as if the windows were too her soul. She could taste every particle of the colorful flamboyance that was her very own marketplace.

 Samantha recalled the first time she had opened these windows. How broken and difficult it had been to un-lach them. The lack of fine silk that now dazzled their corners. She thought of how much and yet how little had changed within her time in the small shop. Heavily now, with the importance of a final breath, Samantha felt the beauty of her duress. Woven from years of hard work, difficult choices and deep sorrows, was the  effervescent and joyous accomplishment that remained. A prideful reminder of all that was lost in her memory. mixed with the hope of what was to come. 

“This…” she thought “Will not be the end of my story.” 

“This…” she thought, “Is a new day”

And as quickly as they had come, her shame, guilt, bewilderment and grief seeped anxiously out of her and far away from the marketplace. Samantha was untouched by any sense or lack of belonging. Abruptly joyful. Something about those windows struck her so very deeply, she struggled at the very idea of anything but happiness.

 The wonderful simplicity of neighbors in their well rehearsed morning routine, were the people she could now call friends.  Smelling every aroma  of the market as though it was pure love drifting into her shop, Samantha felt beautiful and peaceful; there was nowhere she would rather be. This Market…her shop…her life was worth everything and anything that the world could ever throw at her. The long, saddened walk before was somehow  erased in its timeliness. Like the seconds of a clock and the brevity of calm she had felt before, the roughness of reality blossomed into acceptance.

The neighbors were friends, the smells were comforting. Even the sun was no longer vicious and mean, but soft,  soothing and she revealed in these notions of truth…these understandings…this  knowledge. Samantha basked in the glory of all the brilliance that was her place of being. This was no longer a time of foreboding. Her day had transformed just as easily as it had deprived her moments before. Samantha felt brave and ready. There was only one last thing she could possibly do.

With love and compassion she opened her arms wide, stretched them forward to the now busy marketplace and smiled. She was exactly where she belonged. 

December 09, 2023 04:09

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