Deserts of Love

Long distance relationships in the Spanish Sahara – Sanmao, trans. Mike Fu

Excerpted from Stories of the Sahara

A tiny little grocery store opened up near our home about seven or eight months ago. With almost anything you could imagine available to purchase, life suddenly became much more convenient for us residents living some distance from town. No longer did I need to make a long journey under the blazing sun with my bags large and small.

I’d go to this store maybe four or five times a day. Sometimes in the middle of cooking I’d rush out to buy sugar or flour, always as a matter of utmost urgency, only to find that all my neighbours were in there shopping or the store didn’t have any change. No matter what, whenever I went, I couldn’t get in and out in ten seconds like I wanted. It wasn’t great for someone as impatient as me.