January 20, 2018
It is chilly out there and today, as the sun was preparing to set I was covering the plants to save them from wintry night and the fog when I saw three women followed by their kids who were in rags, walking. My mother who was folding fresh laundry told me they were the laborers who would now collect firewood from the construction site nearby and make food on a woodstove. On some distance there were three men who were walking in a way which indicated it had been a tiring day at work. The women slowed their pace and waited for the men to join them. They were almost in front of my house when one of the men pointed towards the Plumeria tree near our front porch. A boy who seemed to be five or six years old came towards our house. I saw him reaching out to a small piece of wood lying near the tree. He was about to pick it up when he sensed my presence. He raised his head and met my eyes. I saw something shifting in his body. He took a step back but his eyes never left mine. Then, all of a sudden he turned back and walked to his mother. My mother called out and told him that he can take it. She told him that it was of no use to us but the boy did not glanced back even once. A boy, slightly taller than the first one came and took the piece of wood. After that, they were all gone. I watched the first boy walk away as far as my eyes would allow. He was clutching his mother's hand tightly like a person who needs support and security not like a carefree being whom I saw initially. I stood there thinking about those little eyes searching something in mine. That little boy was afraid of me. Or was he afraid of his poverty? That skinny boy was feeling vulnerable by my presence. Or was he terrified of me being stronger than him? Those little hands were mortified to pick up that piece of wood. Or were they shivering because he thought that wood was mine? Was he too afraid to snatch something that belonged to someone else which was not his to take? I did not understand his fear. But today, I saw sight of a kid with a numb childhood whose eyes said, "I am afraid". I still remember those glistening eyes searching assurance in mine.