Abu Issa

The compound backed the sea. At times I heard the waves, smelled the salty water, fish and seaweed.  On Thursdays, a skinny, older man named Abu-Issa came carrying a woven basket filled with fish and prawns.  He wore a wrap-around long checkered skirt, a wife-beater shirt and green flip-flops.  He would squat near a garden faucet, descaling the fish and pealing the prawns. When he finished, he scaled up the palm trees to pick fresh dates; using a thick rope he wrapped around the tree and himself, he placed a cloth as a seat to provide his backside with a cushion. He then held onto the tree bark, and lifted himself up with his arm strength, drawing his feet up to the next outward facing bark.   He did this repeatedly until he reached the dates. He stayed up there leaning back into the cushion, picking the dates, or if the entire bunch was ripe, he would cut it off and drop it to the ground.



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