Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The wretched of the earth.

The sins of the fathers, have visited from old
The never ending circle, of people bought and sold

So the wretched of the earth, will huddle from the cold

As the ship a full goes sailing, and motion back as gold

And amongst them I walked... shuffled more like it. Head shamefully bowed, eyes permanently fixed, to a spot two yards ahead of me, staring down, avoiding any eye contact lest I met a familiar face. Resolving never to look back... to always to move forward, though in perpetual circles.

But that didn't last long. This new world I was living was something else.... with millions of sights and sounds... though you didn't notice them at first. No, you tried to ignore them, you paid all your attention, instead, to shadows; yours and theirs.... and the stench - as vile as the vilest thing you could think of..... and the whispers and the glances that you thought were directed at you.

And the waiting.... for that mugging that you knew must be coming, even though you were keenly aware of your lacking in any valuable possessions. That waiting had you barely breathing.... afraid to make any noise, afraid to stand out any more than you obviously were.

But I waited and waited... and no attack came. Instead, in a moment of distraction, the most innocuous of noises, a loud guffaw... deep heartfelt laughter... from somewhere ahead of me.

Then, I had looked up and seen the friendly faces... the open arms, the raised glasses...

"Here's to your good health, sir," they seemed to toast.

I searched their faces... for some sign of hostility, malice.... pity... there was none. If anything... there was indifference. They didn't care that I had once separated myself from them. That I had looked down on them.... nose upturned in disdain, like I was better than they were. That I had chosen to walk a different path... one on a higher elevation.

I'd have spat on me, had I been in their place.

Instead they acted like they didn't care. Perhaps they didn't, lost as they were in ignorant bliss. What did they know of a higher life..... To aspire to live a life of significance was an oxymoron to them. They tended to put little significance in anything they did. The only thing that was significant about their lives was that they still had it.

They invited me to join them, to live it up... to live for the day. And I, though a little hesitant at first, embraced them back. They became mine and I became theirs... just as I was, with the little that I had.... I was one of them.... the wretched of the earth.

Side by side, we toiled..... to fulfill our basic needs.... to sate those thirsts...... all of life's lusts.

I enjoyed being one of them..... for a little while... but in the back of mind, I knew something wasn't right. This was too good to be true. I had seen what life had in store for us... this wasn't it. Not these cheap delights... nothing was supposed to come this easy. Real life required strife... a constant reaching for something higher, something more meaningful. Goals... dreams with deadlines..... suffering for worthy causes.... sowing and reaping.

But I was not ready to leave... not anytime soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

sometimes it's good to escape for a while. and escape is addictive. stay there as long as you need, but don't forget who you are, where you need to be, or where you belong. when it's time to leave, don't be afraid to stand up and walk away. :)