Small fish (C)
I lived in a block of apartments that were built on reclaimed industrial land. There were quarries nearby. Later, factories were built on the landfill. Even later, the area was designated Pao'ai Number Eight Residential District. Workers from factories in the central districts were demobilized and sent out to the edge of the city. Apartment blocks were built. The factories were abandoned. The dormitories in Number Eight were taken down, mostly, but there are a few there still, brick cubes with propaganda on their sides in faded yellow paint. There are new apartments being built now. It's been a while since I've been to Dalian and out to the edge of the city. I'm sure the old apartment block that I lived in has been torn down and replaced. There was an abandoned railway bed running through Number Eight. When it rained, it floods like a canal. The shores were occupied by vegetable plots and mulberry bushes divided with woven twig fences. There was garbage everywhere. When it was cold and when I had money, I would take the Number Thirty-eight bus to Pao'ai Market. In front of the supermarket, a man from Xinjiang named Tomur set up a tent. His wife wore a sequined headscarf and had sharp cheekbones and round, round hazel eyes. His son did homework at a folding table in the back. The tent was made of blue tarps. There was a plastic canvas sack of beer bottles. When I had money, I'd go there and fill up a metal tray with lamb dusted with cumin and crushed chilies, chicken hearts, and sardines. Everything was wiped with a vinegary chili sauce and grimy grey sea salt.