From a nearby bridge I arose, and began to watch the sun drape over the market people, it ought to be a good sight but I had seen it long enough to know that it had no beauty whatsoever. The sun became a bore, making it hard to get around in the heat. And after a short while of staying here I learnt in depth how everyone stayed away from ugly.
I went about and soon enough I heard murmurs and watched as faces turned away in pity and shame. For all they knew I could be contagious.
I’m an art though, an art of pain and hunger, an art describing feelings that escaped words, the type of art never to be bought or hung on walls, the kind produced from a dejected spirit. My nails are finely colored with dirt and my skin is spotted with sores and rashes. Printed on me are scars of hunger adventures and birthmarks that sung betrayal.
All these people do is to look away, they don’t need to see rashes, and they don’t need to see my sores burst open, neither should they experience the stench that comes from it or be aware of the number of parasites I host.
When I got a chance to I scrubbed myself very hard, but no matter how long or hard I scrubbed. I always returned to dirt. Filthy living dirt.
Hunger creeping in on me. I notice a woman.
She approaches with so much vigor and her waist sways moving from left to right. The fruits sitting on her tray are quite ripe but I can’t tell their names or colors or remember what they tasted like. I approach her aware that she too will fail me.
Kneeling down at her feet, stopping her midway in the heat of the busy congested market, I expected the worst.
She moves away from me and I run kneeling, begging her for anything at all.
She pushes me over and I fall into mud. She leaves without a second glance at me. Bitter as I was I rush towards her, pleading even more but it was out of spite, how can she be called a mother. The kick she sends to my growling stomach reminds me of far worse days.
Days I sat pulling at my hair waiting for my own mother to return. I tried but I couldn’t understand why she left.
She went to the market to sell but when I went over she hadn’t been there. In fact no one had seen her that day. I waited and waited but she never returned. I was only five then, now I couldn’t remember her voice or what she looked like but I managed to see her in everywoman. Her scent hidden beneath every one of them.
I hold unto the woman’s wrapper tugging at it, anything ma, I pleaded. She seemed irritated and spat in my direction pulling her cloth from my grasps.
She left and I cluttered clumsily from the mud, and moved away from the eyes staring. My life was a bunch of tales told by others.
Filthy, utterly abused and molested. Poverty stricken and adequately deprived of love. I had long given up and I didn’t know how to begin how to pick up my pieces. I only had to wait for the day I would disappear and all of the pain would be gone.
I began to watch the passerby’s wondering who my next catch would be.
The one I would never know their struggles but mine could easily be read by taking a single glance at me; Poor, lazy, thief! And all the other stuffs that ran through their minds while looking at me. They knew me so well but I didn’t know them.
I wondered who I would be ready to give my life to steal so little from or who would rob me of the little I had.
I spotted him and waited.
Hunger is a thief you know . It doesn’t let you own moral rights or any rights at all, it takes away everything leaving you vulnerable. It was both my best friend and a worst enemy.
I brush him slightly slipping my frail fingers into his pockets hoping it wasn’t a wasted effort.
It was. I felt my skin burn from his tight grip on my wrist.
“Give it back!” he shouted stupidly.
This one knows nothing, I thought. It wasn’t his fault but it’s wasn’t mine either. Breathless and frustrated, I knew I had to do something if I didn’t want an unpleasant death. I gave it no thought as my teeth dug into his flesh, tearing it away.
So today cannibal. Tomorrow i would. be whatever hunger decided.
He winced and let me go. I ran so fast occasionally looking back to watch them as they gathered.
The market men and women. They never come when you really need them to. When you need them to throw their left overs at you, they don’t show up. Even when I fainted it was yet another hungry face staring back at me to wake up. I was always a glaring problem but they chose not to notice me.
They show up with tyres and machetes when someone is a problem, but they never do when there is only a problem to be solved.
I wasn’t going to be caught. Not today. And no way was I going to die like a thief after having to live like one.
So many thoughts were running through my mind as I raced down the road, watching their machetes lunge at me, I didn’t want to be caught feeling trapped and with an instant pump of emotions I made my choice, the force of a speeding vehicle jammed into me. My brittle bones being crunched under its weight and a part of me flew in the air and landed with a thud on the other side of the road.
I heard a voice in anguish, a familiar voice similar to mine whisper in retrospective “You were homeless, but why hopeless? A little hope would have done you well.”
But all I thought hazily of were of black vultures, their blunt beaks, and how my malnourishment could turn out to be a source of nutrient for them, and how much I hated them.