Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Full Moon Festival

The crowd is out for the evening. Music bounces through the concrete of the market and the smells of sticky rice and barbecues drift across the street. Familiar faces emerge from the crowd with smiles in leiu of shared language. I hit three balloons with darts and am rewarded with a bottle of orange cordial. Hawkers carry baskets of newspaper pages, bought to reserve patches of ground before the film. At one end, couples twirl in traditional costume; at the other the white canvas is ready for the blood of the boxers.

A few flashes, a stir in the air. We seek food, and perhaps it is better to be inside as the slightest of raindrops begin to fall.

As we sit, the sky falls.

Sheets of water hit the papers, cigarette sellers, samosas. The umbrellas blossom and are abandoned just as quickly. Carts are shut, wheeled crazily away; the dart boards vanish, the film screen billows. The floods from the sky merge with those on the ground.

The crowds sit inside the market, the party having left the guests behind. Someone starts the music again. The long tile benches, cleaned from the day of fish and pork, house exhausted children on bamboo mats. Women feed the babies hanging in sarongs around their shoulders. Teenage boys in army disposals gather in the passageways, less tough under the glaring of fluorescent lights and their parents. The people wait, robbed yet expectant.

There will be no boxing tonight.

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