Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Unnamed Market Woman


Her goods aren't the cheapest in the market. I have often asked myself why I go back to her every single time when I can get cheaper items elsewhere. It wasn't until recently that it hit me- It was her smile.

Every time I parked in front of her 'shop' she would break into this heartwarming grin and say welcome. 'So which soup you wan cook?' she would ask. 'Eh, I'm thinking Edikan Ikong' I would reply. Armed with that information, she'd get to work. 'Water-leaf N200? No o, e go too much, use N100 naira own'...You go need cameroun pepper o. Ngwa add Isam...Make I clean your pomo for you so that you no go waste time if you reach house...She always fussed.



I would stand and watch her. Watch her singing along with that brand of Igbo gospel music usually with a female nasal soloist and one baseline running through the entire album. Watch her dice and slice and measure and pack, happy. Her hair, four cornrows that look like they were made in the dark, her hands, calloused with fingers that screamed for a manicure, her threadbare clothes and that of her son grinding Egusi by her side. I see her, sitting under the sun, on a rickety chair with her foodstuff table straddling an empty gutter. I see all that.

When it’s time to pay, she miscalculates, asking for less than she should have, she often does. Slowly, I go through the items with her, then she realizes her mistake and laughs and says thank you again and again.

As I put my groceries in the car, she smiles and waves and in that moment, eyes misty, I pray- that her son will grow up strong and healthy and give his mum a better life.

Today I celebrate the woman from whom I have learnt gratitude. For all that I have and the little mercies God has shown me, I am and will remain grateful.

This is for you, er… I was going to mention it but just realized, I don’t even know her name!

© Naomi Lucas


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do u write all these? Woow! I'm marveled at your intelligence.

Ida said...

Lol @ dnt evn knw her name.nice one.

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks anon.

Chibueze said...

You always had it Mi; you still do.

Naomi Lucas said...

@Ida, I still don't :)

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks Chibueze. Howdy?

Onyechi Mbamali said...

The goodness that reinforces the bonds of our shared humanity resides mostly in strangers like her. We miss the gem in their simple smiles and little acts of kindness because our market mentality defines the human stock in stereotypes and values the coins in transactions over the conscience of relationship. Thanks for sharing this piece, Naomi. Nice if you asked to know her name....

Naomi Lucas said...

I so agree with you Onyechi. You're most welcome. I'll ask next time I'm in the market.

Winnie said...

***smiling***

megaspiration said...

How ordinary things can mean a lot when we understand God's message through them. Really good composition. Thank you

Naomi Lucas said...

You're most welcome :)