Monday, January 10, 2011

dancing alone. you’ve got my attention

sometimes you think you know something about something. then you get curious and your entire world slips out from beneath you... a displaced person with a nervous smile trying not to attract unwanted attention. a homeless person runs at your side, your pace quickens, unsympathetic stares from randoms passing by. what are you supposed to do. the privileged foreigner with a cold heart or a bleeding heart. i choose the latter. beneath the dirt and grime comes a small voice that could only belong to a woman. she pleads that i buy her some food at the convenience store for her and her children, a box of cereal, sugar...some milk. you avoid the cashier’s eyes. mumble a your welcome to the woman. now what. am i going to get mugged when i walk out of the store after i easily flashed my one hundred rand for a woman i don’t even know. but i do know. i know those eyes. i know that desperation. walking back on the street, feeling a bit shaky. questioning my actions. around the corner i turn and am waiting for a taxi van. and another woman approaches me. this time with child in tow. i turn around. ignoring. desperately avoiding eye contact. saying shortly i don’t have enough money to buy food for everyone on this street. she replies...sister why are you so angry? i almost cry. because i don’t know what the fuck i am supposed to do. she says i should’ve taken the receipt and opened the food so nobody could return it for the money. my heart sinks. bruised ego to think i was taken for a fast one. i feel like a stupid naive little girl. still grasping to the ideal that she is really feeding her kids as i write this. it’s not the money. it’s the humanity. but again. what the fuck do i know. she calls me sister again...wishing me a good night...and proceeds to freak out at the next couple who ignore her advances. on the ride back home there is a little baby in the van with huge eyes. so much light. so much hope. when that woman called me sister i wished i could’ve hugged her.

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