I see her every Tuesday and Thursday when I take my grandson to soccer practice. She stands on the corner waiting for the light to change so she can pass through the line of stopped cars offering candies from a small basket that she holds close to her chest.
The street is a side one, with only one full lane of traffic, and the line of cars is never long. Perhaps six or seven. Short enough that she reaches the end and makes her way back to the corner before the light changes. Her walk is slow and measured.
I’ve taken this route every Tuesday and Thursday for more than six months. She is always there.
She carries a white cane with a red tip and holds the arm of a young man who I take to be her son. As they wend their way down the line of cars, it reminds me of a mother and son walking down the aisle of a wedding.
Except that there is no seat for her at the end. Only hard ground which she occasionally sits on after she has made her way through the cars.
The candies that she sells are the same candies that would be available at the 7-Eleven a few blocks away. The most expensive would be no more than 12 pesos. The least expensive perhaps three. The basket is always full even though I have never once seen her replenish it.
There is another woman who sells garlic at the Wednesday market where I buy fruit and flowers. She has no stall, but walks the aisles carrying a basket filled with bunches of garlic.
She moves slowly and stops often. Not because of crowds, but because of age that has slowed her down. Her basket is always full too.
As is the one of the elderly woman who I see at the corner whenever I drive to the Galerias mall. She also offers candies.
I don’t know how any of these women could support themselves with the profits from their baskets. Or how the small amounts that they might take home each day could make a difference in their lives.
I only know that they must.
And that I will see them again.