Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Sunshine in my Today

Something important happened to my heart today four years ago. I'd like to narrate an event...

I was at the bus stop when she came and stood to my left. She had a baby strapped to her back and dropped a small load at her feet. We did not speak to each other but stared in the same direction as we waited for a bus. When my eyes roved aimlessly around, I saw her. She was wearing a fabric that looked as if all the thread that held it together had been taken apart bit by bit to wash and hewn together again.
The strapcloth with which she held her baby to her back was once red and gold but that was not the only thing on her that had lost its brightness. The baby had his head turned away from me as if he was looking out for the bus too and I could not help but see that the lone strands of hair scattered here and there on his shiny head could do little to keep the sun out. When he looked at me, his lips were partly opened like one who was expectant, had been disappointed too many times and still had the mouth opened anyway in case some benevolent spirit changed its mind. Then I looked at her face…
The profile that I saw spoke volumes of the other profile. Her face was a contortion of misery, sadness and sunny days long gone by, crossed with hopes and expectations that had been dashed too many times when she had had closed doors to cry to. Her eye balls were lined red at the lower parts as if the tears of blood had settled and congealed there. Then, those knuckles. They looked to me like they have knocked too many doors that failed to open.
Her eyes followed the bus that was passing by but something told me that she was looking at a life that that had gone away and she had failed to catch. Her folded arms, across her chest told me the story of a woman who would take no more from life but yet had stopped dodging the blows. She stood on two feet scattered in opposite directions and those legs were even bent further to absorb a load that had become too heavy for the heart alone to bear.
On a sudden rash impulse, I dipped my hand in my pocket and brought out two money bills but suddenly as it came, it stopped. Who says hers is a problem of money? Are there not more crosses a man bears in this life that are like a message of defecation which one can not send a child? Then how would I be able to offer her the money? What even if she turned it down?
A bus came but she didn’t appear to notice. It had space for only one passenger and I was the first at the bus stop. I moved closer to her and my hand on her shoulder connected and brought back a soul that was sinking in an abyss of thoughts of all the might have been. That could have been.
“Eh, what?”
“Go with the bus.” I said.
Her look at me was to question why I didn’t take the chance since I was there first.
“After you,” I said and to avoid her face that was somehow rearranging itself as various emotions swirled across, I bent down to help her pick her load and headed for the bus which was by now ready to move. She followed me like one who was too tired to argue any more. When she had entered, I waved her bye and she returned my wave with a smile that still didn’t transform her face. Another bus came and I left the bus stop. We went our different roads in life but I went on mine smiling because I had put a smile on her sad face.