Monday, September 19, 2011

The tug on your t-shirt.

6:04 am. Your alarm goes off. You hit the snooze button.
6:14 am. The alarm persists. You frustratingly look at the ceiling and try to close your eyes and block out all noise. It doesn't work.
You get out of bed and as you pull your bathrobe over your shoulders it's almost like you feel someone tugging at it. But you shrug and continue on with your morning.
Lunch time rolls around and as you're surrounded by crowds of people you feel it again. You think it's peculiar, but many things are peculiar nowadays so you push on and eat your full plate of food, leaving half of the meal on the plate and taking off to your next assignment.
You work all afternoon. You drink bottles of clean water and have the comfort of air conditioning as you drearily complain about the work load or how tired you are, and with every word you speak you feel that tugging again. And again. And again.
You're walking back to your home and as you pull open the front door and think about what you should eat for dinner the pull is so much stronger. It feels like someone tugging at your clothes, trying to get your attention. It's enough that you can ignore it but not enough that you don't notice it.
Because it's there.
You've been around the world.  You've seen many things that people have not had the opportunity to. The images that your eyes have beheld are something that only few get a chance to every venture out and experience firsthand.
And you feel that little hand tugging on your t-shirt. You look down, and there she is.
You remember that face. And as she smiles in a worn-out, old fashioned dress that isn't her size and chases after you with dirty, calloused feet, dust splattered around her face and hair. She still looks up at you and smiles, almost as if she's saying: "Don't forget me, ok?"

I won't forget you.

And there's this other sense you have that someone's not only been following you, but trying to grab your hand. You are a little discomforted, but not put in any physical or emotional pain by this thought.
As you reach for the fridge to get out your dinner he grabs your hand instead.
He won't speak.
He will barely look at you.
He holds your hand. And that's it. That's all he wants.
You look him in the eyes, get down to his level and after many tiring efforts of communication there's a moment where you get him to smile, and when he smiles his eyes light up the world, almost as if the fact that he has no shoes, proper nutrition, or shelter doesn't matter. Because you made him laugh.
He calms down, holds your hand tighter and nervously looks around. When your eyes finally meet it's almost as if they say, "Don't forget me, ok? I'm still here."

I won't forget you.

As you walk to the living room you get a nagging feeling that someone is watching you. You turn around, and there she is. And honestly, I think she just wanted to feel special for once. You could see it in her eyes. So you take her under your wing for the entire remainder of the time you have there, and when you're leaving and everyone begins to bug her and make fun of her, you pick her up and carry her towards the bus. A huge smile crosses her face up as she looks around and sees everyone from your perspective so high up. No shoes, covered in dust, bright smile. She points at your camera as you put her down and as you take a picture and you see this new look about her, you can't help but wondering if she just wanted to be remembered.

I remember you.

Malawi 2011. 

No comments:

Post a Comment