Friday, October 30, 2009

Solitary Walk

It is a pleasant thing sometimes to walk alone incognito in sprawling deteriorating and decrepit streets.

Nobody to wait for. Nobody to catch up.

To look at those dirty chipped walls sometimes stained with beautifully unappreciated art. To see the rats quickly dash by as if we couldn't notice it. It need not worry. We are mutually indifferent.

There is more life in the areas of developmental entropy. There are flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches as there are weeds, little flowers that struggle up from the cracks of broken undulating concrete.

Last night I walked past a scrawny wrinkled who looked too old with a child sleeping in her lap. His head was on where her thigh should be. His legs dangled from her other thigh. She had called out to me from the darkness. The bowl in front of her sat empty. Symbolic more than useful.

I didn't know what she said in her foreign language. But I understood. Completely.

She played on my mind even as I walked on. Even though I didn't see her clearly, she weighed so heavily on me. Eventually I returned and pressed more than I usually did into her hand. I felt the wiry thinness of her fingers clumsily grabbing the money from my fingers as if afraid I would change my mind.

At the least it should spare her a day off the streets and a decent meal.

So why did I feel worse after that act of charity?

1 comment:

LightsInTheDistance said...

This is a beautiful post.

A feeling of guilt and helplessness fills me everytime i walked past destitutes. Guilt when i don't help them by giving them some meagre amount, and helplessness when i realize i'm not really helping them at all by my token.