by Dottie Camptown
They spread through the metro car, a black river filling into spaces between the Barcelona tourists. Moussa was the last to get on the train. He dropped to the floor opening his tarp sack. The hawker boss, Oumar, decided what everyone would sell for the day.
Today Moussa was selling wallets. Wallets were good, small and light and not bad to carry all day. Moussa saw that Mamdou had gotten the big heavy load of purses. He smiled because Mamdou was an asshole. Every day he had sex with a Thai massage girl in one of the public changing rooms in Barceloneta, never telling her his Senegalese wife had died of AIDS.
The train stopped between stations. Closing his eyes, Moussa wished the train to reverse back to the station where he got on, back to the apartment he shared with 14 others, back to his arrival at Port Miral, back to the stale air in the shipping container, back to his bed in his mother’s house. Back to the fear he would gladly now take, the fear he was nothing.
Moussa’s sister worked at a hotel restaurant in Dakar. She cleared tables and washed dishes in the kitchen. She would transfer discarded wine from crystal glasses into a big plastic cup and bring it home. She and Moussa used to climb to the roof to reach the cool winds of Cape Verde. Passing the cup back and forth, they would silently drink, indistinguishable from the West African night.