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Right about when we are at risk of crossing paths with some museum or literary noteworthy at the book, John says, ‘I’ve got a shopping list, do you mind if we spend time at the market?’

As an alternative to the launch crowd, haunted vaults, ambience of unfamiliar knowledge, hushed artistic reverence, silent but not empty corners and stifling air that resides in the Arts Centre, the market’s boiling noise appeals. There are rows and piles of seasonal fruit and vegetables, buskers, even the sisal of basket weavers to draw my attention.

‘Let’s see,’ John unfolds a list. ‘She wants me to buy pears, mushrooms, lettuce…’

I recalled a set of instructions given to my ex-husband, ‘Will you get some ‘greens’ from the market?’ The resultant green apples, green peaches, green celery, green pasta and green (sage) cheese, motivated by ignorance, animosity or perhaps his brother’s goading.

Ignoring bargains John descends on articles most visibly appealing, pays exorbitant prices. Before we have even completed one circuit through the stalls he exclaimed, ‘No more! I’ve already spent the budget.’

I pictured Faye, owner of the purse strings, scalding; “What did you spend that much on? Where have you been so long? What were you doing, the book launch was over two hours ago? And why does the back of the car smell like a gym?”

‘I’ll just take this to the car,’ breaks my reverie. As his box of vegetables has become a hindrance.

‘If you wait, I’ll meet you back here in a minute. Then we’ll go for coffee? Don’t go away.’

‘Well it’s a long walk home.’ Hides my worry that he might be contemplating going back to the Arts Centre café, with its jars of cookies that resemble anatomical specimens. 

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