Monday, July 29, 2013

The Baby

The baby lay there. No human being saw her as she lay on the ground. Feet passed by and none bothered with the child.




The constant and routine movement of steps belonging to beings vibrated through the ground, like a disorganized and ill-orderly march. Many eyes passed over her, but the feet carried these beings on their way. The child’s eyes were open and she stared up to the sky. Perhaps her vision carried forward or perhaps it was blocked by the street lamp above her. Only the child knew what she saw.

Her mother was nearby, sitting on her haunches stirring some gruel in a vessel over a flame of charcoal. Busy she was preparing food and her child lay there on the ground.

Underneath the ground that she lay on, a sewage of waste flowed and, through a small opening of a nearby manhole, a disgusting smell arose, filling the air. Perhaps this smell was the cause for feet moving forward and not stopping. Some of the beings who passed clutched their nose as they passed, some did not bother with it, but all rushed by. A train horn blew in the distance. The child did not cry out or wail like it did when her mother first brought the baby here a few months ago. All the feet of passing human beings were headed to the train station. None bothered to stop and help this child. And why should they...

They had their own lives to live, like a constant flow, their feet took them to work or to school or to college and like a stream those feet brought them back, all these beings of moving, stomping and brisk walking feet ignoring the long line of homeless on the street.

A fly arrived and settled on her forehead. It was not that the child was weak, though her face was scrawny and thin, and her skin stretched like a thin paper across her face. It’s just that the child did not bother with it. The fly flew up and buzzed over her head. Her eyes followed its movement, until the fly settled back on the child’s forehead.

The mother arrived holding the vessel with her arm. She sat on her haunches. The disgusting sewage smell, of dirt waste, human excreta, rotting food that emitted from below the ground was something she was used to. Her free hand swung above the child’s head, shooing away the buzzing fly. She took the child onto her lap.Dark skinned, wrinkled and dry was her skin. It seemed like the skin on her limbs were stretched too thin. Her fingers dipped into the vessel and pulled out the gruel. She hung it over the child’s lips letting it dribble slowly into her mouth. And so the baby feasted on whatever food her mother dribbled into her mouth.