market mouillé

For two months we have been waiting for a good rainstorm. Not a misty, cloudy day that Fanch says is “just enough to grow moldy potatoes”. No, what we have needed is a morning of downpours, an afternoon cloudburst. The kind of deluge where if you are one of the unfortunate ones caught outside your sweater is soaked through in seconds and puddles seem to appear instataneously to soak distracted socks and sneakers as they run for the nearest awning.

We finally received one such storm this morning, while I was at the market with Fañch’s brother Julien. Luckily, he had arrived an hour before me and everything was already set up, including the soon-to-be indispensable parasol. Within a half hour the sky had transformed into one continuous unending blanket of gray, with no hint of sunlight poking through. A pre-rain stillness settled around the merchants as they looked to the sky with apprehension. Not even five minutes passed before the clouds decided that two months was long enough and the rain began to fall.

It continued to pour on and off (though mainly on) all morning. Some of the braver tourists who had come to market stood beneath the merchants’ large white umbrellas, their plastic ponchos and brand-name raincoats dripping. Many of the stands closed up shop before the merchandise had even been unloaded from the vans, as the jewelry sellers and clothing merchants decided it just wasn’t worth it.

At some point, as the wind gusts threatened to blow over our umbrella (as it later did to the strawberry seller next to us), I started to laugh. It was the same laugh that erupts every time I ride a roller coaster, though I have yet to see the correlation between the up and down drops of a Coney Island coaster and the ceaseless drenching rain that characterized our morning.

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