A Single Piece Of Legacy

It was the beginning of a beautiful winter evening. The road light had just arrived to welcome the already approaching darkness of the night. A cold breeze started spreading its wings to lay out the carpet of the silent and slumberous evening. With a firm grip and slight pressure of my right hand index finger and thumb, I moved the ignition key to the left and brought my bike’s roaring engine to an end. I pressed my right foot over the brake to command a stop. With my left leg, I pulled the kick stand and rested the bike on one side. There was no sound of protest from my bike as it stood on its feet. I swung my right foot above it, over the ground, and came down from it. With the slight pressure of my shoes on the ground, the dust on the roadside puffed out.

I could see before my eyes a couple sitting on the roadside, facing the mortuary that remained as calm and quiet as their destinies.

I crossed paths with this couple every day and used to observe silently their inability to do something. I have heard a long-standing adage that says money attracts money, and thus they lack what they really want to attract. This explains why people are unable to move out of poverty and grief.

I looked at the man sitting right at the edge of the road. He was pale, his skin hard and dark, and his lips as peeling as a dried lake floor after it has lost all its glory. His eyes were keen and interested in what I had in store for him, his sharp cutting me into two pieces: the affluent one and the compassionate one. Having seen me coming towards him, he immediately looked away. I did not understand why. But he suddenly started looking around. My attempt to understand his motivation made me think for a while, until I believed I understood his motive. He altered his gaze since he had the assurance that I was there to help and definitely not leaving without giving something.

The lady sitting next to him raised her eyes from the billowing dust. She looked lean and thin. Her face was like a cobweb; all the threads intermingled with future uncertainties. The torn and patched robe was falling apart from her head with the constant gusting of air from the movement of traffic on the road. She stared at me, and I witnessed a ray of hope in her eyes, stripping the cobwebs. As I approached her, my vision became clearer. I could now see a small child in her lap.

The billowing dust from my shoes settled down. I raised the polythene packet hanging in my left hand and rested it on my right hand, in a position that makes it look like a gift and not alms that I had come to deliver. In a fraction of a second I had done what I came to do. I raised myself and while trying to turn back towards my bike, I had a sudden glimpse of a small child sitting a bit away from the lady. Dusty clothes, brown filthy hair with a completely unfolded childhood. It seemed to me that destiny had not yet asserted its power on him, thus he was still in possession of a lot of imagination and dreams. I could not keep myself from gazing on this little angel. With small hands he folded his only legacy: a small shirt he was trying to push neatly into a polythene bag. That was all he that had been left him and all he had left to lose. The harsh rocky terrain of life before him notwithstanding, he was sailing smoothly on his dreams and in his present circumstances. It bought tears to my eyes. Unable to stop myself, I left for my privileged dwelling.

The cold evening breeze running through me was now blurring my vision.

(This article was published in Austrian literary magazine Driesch April 2013 issue.)

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