“Don’t you get it? It’s not about you or us or whatever stupid thing that you did anymore!”
I could hear her from three blocks down, blaring at the poor man who happened to wake up on the wrong side of bed. With another woman. While his wife came home from a long night working as a waitress in a club.
But in places where I work, it’s all normal. Chaos and strife is the way of order around here, and sometimes you’re just left to thinking about how you managed to end up here in the first place.
Hope is a prospectus given to the imaginative mind of a 5-year-old. It’s a gift handed to their naive and untainted minds. As they step through the one-way rotating door of reality, it’s sad that most of them left the catalog behind.
I was a fat kid, sitting at the back of the class everyday. I liked to draw, and I’d draw everywhere I could - on the tables, in my textbooks, on myself, on other people… Life was a big white canvas for my pudgy hands.
And I loved my drawings, not that I can remember much of them now. They were innocent depictions of an otherwise derelict and forsaken human soul. Fast-forward thirty-five years and you have the resultant exposition of what remains as each creative scribble and doodle oozes out from a young impressionable mind.
Drawings became words, words turned to photographs, and photographs turned a means of survival in the damp corner of the street we have to call home.
I walked towards the screaming and stopped at the door, looking up and taking my time to compose myself. Traces of the fat kid still lingered as I shook off the urge to snap a romanticized perspective of our old neighborhood.
I shrugged it off with a glance at the news stand - nothing good, just like what we have here.
As the door slammed shut I made my way up to where the commotion was, one heavy step at a time. The floorboards have definitely seen better days, and the walls looked like they were permanently covered by a sheet of vomit. Heavy footsteps echoed mine as we made our way past each other. She was crying and emotional.
“Excuse me, but I can’t help but notice what a natural beauty you have,” I said the lines I used to stay up all night rehearsing.
“Get away from me, jerk!”
She shoved me aside, and I fell the fall I’ve done so many times. It helps that as a fat kid, you were never short of a good push and tease. The motions were graceful, the resulting cry of pain sharp, and the look of hurt afterwards priceless.
“Oh my god, are you ok? I didn’t mean to hurt you!” She came running back.
That was all the cue I needed. Too many times have I seen this happen, and too many times it has succeed. In this dark world where people mistake chance for hope, it’s easy to find desperate people not in their state of mind and take them away from what they treasure.
Forced into a life of misery, our streets are paved with a network of women offering sexual services in hope that they would be set free from the chains of reality that I put them in. A touch, a fall, and sweet words - promises of a chance at leaving the muck they see themselves in.
All this, from the harmless doodles of a fat five-year-old.