The seller’s desire

Turn on the iron and prepare a glass of water to spray with your fingers on the pants. Fulgencio continues with the tradition of his maternal grandfather, he wears dress shirts and pants, a wool sweater, and moccasin-type shoes. He always with his well ironed and carefully folded cloth handkerchief kept in the pocket on the back of his pants. He has used the same leather belt for forty years.

The seller's desire

Since she has her change ready, she is going to bathe with the cold water from the barrel, but first she washes the change of clothes from the day before and leaves them to dry. She rubs her carcañales with the pomace stones that she buys in the market at the local of Doña Juanita, who is the oldest vendor, with thirty years in the position, she began selling pashtes [1] and today it has pomace stones, bags of red sand, copal, 2 candles, seven mountains and cigars.

When the money reaches him, Fulgencio buys toothpaste, but he regularly brushes his few remaining teeth with salt and charcoal. He drenches his neck with Agua Florida the old-fashioned way.

It is very difficult for him to adjust to stock his merchandise, he rents a small room of three by three meters in the vicinity of the La Presidenta market, in the Guatemalan capital. He always has breakfast at Doña Julia’s stall, who travels every day at two in the morning from Ciudad Vieja, Sacatepéquez, to the capital by the time dawn arrives, she is already setting up her two pine tables and on top of them the baskets with sweet potatoes and whiskeys. stews, three-cooked atol, rice pudding and white atol.

On the grill he heats up the bean, chipilín and corn tamales. It also sells bread with eggs and ham and orange juices made with duck eggs. Before, he used to sell parlama eggs, but since they explained to him about the extinction of the turtles, he stopped buying them.

Fulgencio always orders two chipilín tamales and a white gruel that he pays for at noon, when he goes to eat his lunch: bread with beans and a rice pudding gruel. He doesn’t have a stall, but every day at seven in the morning he stands at the market entrance with the merchandise that he carries in a wooden box that he opens like a suitcase and hangs on his shoulders.

He sits on his plastic bench and begins to offer his product: chewing gum, chocolates, single cigarettes and packs, ricitos and the occasional cookie. When she gets tired or bored, she leaves the bench in charge and walks around the market, there are times when she ends up at the gates of the General Cemetery and helping the flower vendors. This is how she stretches her muscles and airs out a bit, then goes back to her bench and back to his place. There are times when he falls asleep and can’t sell, but some people leave him money in the corner of the till.

It is not much that he manages to sell per day, which is why Fulgencio, seventy-five years old, illiterate, with no living family member, at the end of his workday offers his help to the market vendors, cleaning and taking out the garbage, with what they give him. help to adjust for the rent and his food from day to day.

She prepares her dinner on the small table stove that she has in the room she rents, they are vegetables that she has saved from the garbage, she regrets not having a refrigerator because otherwise she would keep even the chicken bones that are thrown away by the chicken shops and I pass some livers and gizzards for your broth. But he has a mattress that he bought new on Avenida Bolívar, it is his greatest luxury, he had never had anything new in his life, sometimes he thinks that dreaming of a refrigerator is asking a lot from life and being ungrateful for what he has, yes He even has a spare pillow.


[1] Pashte: Natural sponge that comes from the plant called luffa, which in Guatemala and Central America is used for personal hygiene or washing dishes.

2 Tree resin used as incense in Mayan spirituality in Central American countries and Mexico.

The seller’s desire