Untold Tales: Behind The Face Of The Frail Old Woman On Your Street

untold tales

The sun melts a new version of life into my skin. My bleary eyes blink with woe, and tell a tale of the joy it once knew. My numb mouth longs for the taste of the joy it may never know again.

I remember I have been sitting here since 12 pm. Not because I needed a sun bath, or because the sun promised a fine display of shadows. No. The pang of hunger will drive a crab out of its hole; and here I am, desperately hoping for manna.
I have lost count of the number of my years on earth. And I am not sure if it is old age or chronic poverty that has left impressive wrinkles on my face. It was just last year that my husband died. So… if you ever see me in the street, find it within you to show me compassion.
A familiar food seller walked past, with covered bowls of rice, beans, plantain and stew. They were carefully arranged in a tray balanced on her head. I smiled at her, but she ignored and increased her pace. Her scornful look trod my dry skin like it would stain her gaze.

I thought about my beloved husband… the best cobbler I have grown to know. It was so sad how old age had reduced his skill to two or three bathroom slippers a day. We were very poor, but life was a little bit fair to two childless lovers. Now, the fair is gone! All I see is the darkness of somber nights.

I sat there for a long time, until at length a car appeared. It belonged to the same man who had arranged for my husband’s burial. Manna!!! I rejoiced, but he drove past like I was nothing. He didn’t even bat an eyelid when I waved at or greeted him.

It was becoming dark. So, I stood up gently to find a place to lay my weary self. Hunger touched my soul, and I felt my heart skipped a beat…or two.  I should have sat where the rich man could see me, I thought. Perhaps if I live to see that food seller tomorrow, I will earnestly beg her for a plate of rice.


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