Border Market This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 12, 2013
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At the Dominican and Haitian border, I walked through the free trade zone market. Men and woman scrambled through the traffic of people, their foreheads wrinkled from squinting against the white sky. A blanket of shapeless clouds covered the sun, occasionally misting the busy market with light raindrops.

Surrounding me were shoes, soaps, spices, and wooden boxes displaying fish. The foul and potent stench of sweat weighed down on air, its taste lingering in the back of my throat as I breathed in the passing armpits.

A spectrum of skin colors pushed against one another like pixels in an image. Old women steered through the busy crowds. Girls with cornrows, girls with tattered sandals. Girls with stress.

As I scrambled my way between the men strenuously pushing their wheelbarrows of goods, I felt the ordinary desperation of the daily trades. Food. Clothes. Survival. I watched as women scooped cups of brown sugar from plump burlap sacks set under a cooling system of plastic sheets and promotional umbrellas. Coca-Cola, Heineken, Nestlé. Victims advertising the innocence of their murders. A moth praying to a light bulb. A mother selling her sweet daughter to hungry men.

I listened to the sounds of anxious sellers yelling through loud, harsh intercoms. A mixture of Spanish, Creole, and French stirred into a tornado of gibberish. I listened to the sound of my angsty mind attempting to find structure in the chaos of people running, sitting, scurrying, whistling, exchanging money in quantities larger than one could count in such an atmosphere. Women, sprawled with their legs apart, stared at me with empty eyes. Bare skin touched mine, dripping perspiration on my shoulders and arms.

It was beautiful. Primitive adrenaline rushed through my body, overcoming any worry of my own. Serotonin dripped with my sweat. Stripped down to the bare necessities, my body was freed. Overwhelmed by the commotion, I attempted to clear my mind.

Reality slammed into me like a wheelbarrow.

I was here.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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