The Art Of Begging

I’ll see you walking down the street. You won’t see me. At least, I don’t expect you to see me. How could you? I’m not one of your kind. I don’t talk like you, I don’t walk like you, I don’t dress like you. In a world that pretends to celebrate diversity, we are as alike as oil and water.


You’ll come and stand before me, your wide shadow giving me temporary respite from the sun. The rays have been relentlessly beating on my forehead, and my raging headache makes it hard to fully open my eyes. Even so, I risk a glance upwards, wishing to see you closer. You wear a pair of shorts and a stomach- baring top. It’s only an inch or two of skin, but I find myself wondering who is your mother, that would let you walk out of the house looking like that. It’s not safe on these streets. People have been stripped for less.


On your head is a kaleidoscope of color. Green, purple, yellow and grey have been braided to your scalp in an intricate design I can’t even wrap my head around. Again, who is your mother? I hope that your eyes are kind, though they be hidden now behind your thick sunglasses. Please let your eyes be kind. I wish for you to take them off, but none of us is telepathic.


You’re with him. He holds you really close, both hands barely touching your bottom. You don’t seem to mind. I’m inclined to think that he’s your boyfriend, though these days you cannot be sure. I hear blood relations also hold each other like that now. He’ll be whispering in your ear, and though I’ll strain hard to hear, it will reach my ears as meaningless mumbles. You’re smiling, though, so it must be really good.

You’ll walk away after five minutes; arms still round each other, bind to the rest of the world. None of you will see my outstretched hands, or even notice him stepping on my cup and sending my hard earned coins tumbling all over the sidewalk. I’ll see one going down the drain and just sigh.


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