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On Watermelons

Our neigbourhood store was on Skender Luarasi. I don't know if that's what the street was called back then, when I lived in Tirana, but that seems to be how it's known now. It was just round the corner from my house on a nameless street, now called Rruga Liman Kaba. The store was owned by two brothers - we assumed they were brothers, they looked like brothers, but since they spoke no English and I spoke only a few words of Albanian there was no way to know for sure. It was a tiny place, no bigger than a room with a covered area out front for the fruit and veg. They sold a little of everything, not unlike the corner stores that dotted Belfast when I was growing up. I shopped there because it was convenient and I wanted to support them, but also because the fruit I got there tasted better than most of the fruit I had ever eaten up to that point.

Fruit was seasonal, picked when it was ready and sold as long as the season lasted. I never knew from one week to the next what wou…

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