“How much?” the man asked. “$5 for two, or $3 for one.” Rosa replied, as politely as she could. There was a large board with the prices clearly marked out right in front of the man. He blinked, then without a word, turned and walked away. Rosa sighed and leaned back into the van.
It was early, and most people were not looking for food just yet. Perhaps the man will come back later. The market was starting to get busy, especially as the tourists buses were arriving. To begin with, many people would simply walk around, checking out the various stalls, before committing their cash to any particular purchase. However, there was a magic period of time, often around 7 pm, when there would be a rush for food. Then, queues of 10 or more could build for some stalls. At that special time, even the less popular stalls would attract custom, as people were put off by the long wait at the more popular ones.
“Miss”. Rosa looked up, but could not see anyone. “Miss, could I have one for $2, please?” Rosa leaned over and look down. There was a young boy, about 7 years old, who was too short to look over the counter. He had a serious expression on his chubby pink face, and a tightly clenched fist, as if he was afraid his money would fly away from him like a bird.
“Sorry, one churros costs $3.” Rosa replied gently.
The boy said in a small voice, “Ma only gave me a $2 coin. …Please, Miss.”
Rosa sighed, and wrapped a hot churros doused in icing sugar. Leaning over to hand it to the boy, her heart rose as she saw the smile spreading over his serious face. The boy handed a warm coin to her and grabbed the parcel. “Careful, hot!” Rosa started to say, but he was already running off with his sugary treat. Immediately, two other children appeared, racing after him. They had been hiding behind the van. He shouted at his pals “Told ya! Told ya I’d get it!” They whooped back, chasing after him as he skipped away.
Rosa felt deflated — he had only given her a $1 coin. She knew even without looking. She rummaged in her pockets, and finding a $2 coin, added it to the cash box. The boss was very meticulous with checking the earnings, and she could not afford to lose this job at the moment. She had been scammed by a child.
Rosa felt that this whole country had cheated her. Land of milk and honey, everyone in her village had told her. Europe is old. Europe has nothing more to offer young people like her. You must go, they all said. Go to Australia and make a fresh start.
However, with her limited English, selling churros was one of the only jobs she was able to get in Darwin. It was either that or cleaning hotel rooms, so the choice was obvious.
Then she saw him. The beautiful man. He was exactly on time, 6:30 pm. As he did, every Friday, he walked past her van, not looking around. He was impeccably dressed, as always. The golden wavy hair was carefully waxed and combed. Today a stylish white shirt was tucked neatly into beige slacks, and he wore proper shoes. Most men here wore flip-flops and shorts, so the beautiful man simply stood out. He had an expensive watch, designer sun-glasses, and a tan that surfers would kill for. The whole effect, to Rosa, was that of a film-star. He was not just handsome — he was beautiful. He always walked in the same direction, and with purpose. Not turning to look right or left. Certainly never to look at her. Rosa was certain he had no idea of her presence.
What a mystery. Rosa would see him every Friday, and always at the same time. She wondered what he was doing at the market. He was not a stall-holder: she knew all the stalls by now. But clearly, he was not interested in buying from the stalls.
So what was he doing here? Perhaps he was a stall-holder’s boyfriend, and came every Friday to see his sweetheart? However, the exactness of his timing, and the business-like purpose of his walk indicated something less casual than meeting up with a girl. Perhaps he kept a mistress: an older married woman who expects a certain level of dress, and who needed strict timing for their rendezvous. Rosa could only speculate.
He must be wealthy. The shoes and clothes were always nearly new, and changed frequently. The watch was always the same, so he must be rather attached to the Patak Phillipe. His well-groomed look indicates frequent visits to the barber’s. He had a toned, lean, athletic body. No doubt a result of an hour or two in a gym every day.
Rosa made up her mind to somehow attract his attention. She was not quite sure how she would do it, but she would. Somehow, she was sure if she could just get him to stop and to look at her, everything would change. If their eyes could meet, he would recognise her as his true soul-mate, just as she was already sure that he was her true love. If she can get the beautiful man to stop and to see her and to talk to her, her life will change. She was absolutely sure of it. After that meeting, she would not be selling churros any longer.
Rosa makes her plans.
Do let me know if you like the story, or if it can be improved in any way