Unvoiced (A Short Story)
September 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
The word still clung in my mind. I didn’t know people still gave importance to such a thing, let alone hearing it from someone who just treated me like a repugnant animal. There I was, rejected a hundred times a day, treated like dirt by random strangers, trying to brace survival, dreaming of nothing else but food when those people still all bothered about a seemingly valuable thing they called… dignity.
“I have a reputation to protect! I wouldn’t be caught dead talking to that hobo. “
I never worried about mine. I wear dirty rag shoes, I have dirty long nails, and my aura itself just screams “Don’t get too close to me cause I smell like crap!”
I am someone who most people considered as the plague of the society. A parasite. Someone who doesn’t contribute anything to the betterment of anything but asks for your money and food.
In short, a beggar.
I hear someone whistling a melody from behind. I didn’t bother to turn my head. The farm girl was the only one I know who gets up this early to hunt for wild grasses at the spring.
“Morning, Murrey! Nice day isn’t it?” she says cheerily.
I continue to focus on my reflection on the spring.
I always found her amusing. She is nice to look at—someone so young and so full of life. She’s the only one who bothers to acknowledge my existence in this town. Not that we share some kind of friendship or anything. It was always a mere hi-hello’s, and a piece of her crops sometimes when I get lucky. Most of the time, I ponder why the world did not have more people like this person. This place certainly needs more kind heartened and hardworking people.
Not that I have the right to say that.
Though some time in my life, I also dreamt of contributing at least something to the world. I wanted to become an architect in a vast and well-known city, build huge establishments that people would look up to in awe. I wanted to sense the feeling of having to create something big and so perfect through these little but potent hands. But who was I kidding? I didn’t even get to go to a school. I do not know how to read. I do not know how to write.
I used to live in a place where money is crucial. I lived in a place where people work too hard to acquire money, then proceeding to discharge it in just a snap. Simple as that. But from what I saw, people weren’t the one acting on money. Money was the one acting on us. It made us mourn, crawl for its assured existence by our side. It was what kept us alive and breathing.
I lived in a place where poverty was common and normal.
Money was supposed to be a good thing, something we long and receive during Christmas and birthdays, something that we happily receive after a hard work, something that would give smiles to our faces—but the cruel reality had to be absorbed—money was the devil in material form, and we were its slaves.
For some reason, the lack of luxury and a normal supply of necessities never made me feel less of a person. I only lived with my mother when I was young. Since we couldn’t afford to get me in a school, my days mostly consisted of helping her out on her work. We would collect scraps and go to shops together while we talked and talked about the problems of the world and how to save the universe.
That must probably be the reason why I think like this. My mother and I would talk about the strangest and deepest things people don’t even care about.
One day, she went home with that big smile on her face that I could still clearly picture from my memory. She was genuinely happy about something. She held a box and excitedly handed it to me. I couldn’t help but cry when I saw that it contained a pair of new shoes. I knew from how much she earns from her job, it was far from her capability to buy something like that. For us, having new pair of shoes was a luxury.
But what made the gift more special was the love and hardship that came along with it. I knew how much she itched to spend the money on food that wasn’t tasteless or something that she herself could wear. And still, she got me those shoes.
And I knew from that point on… as long as she was there, I was happy.
A few days after, I was waiting for my mom to get home from an errand when this old friend of my mother came up to me. He hugged me all of a sudden and then pulled back.
“Your mother got in a fight at town…” he said shaking his head.
Instantly, there was a shooting pain on my chest.
Intuition. I knew it wasn’t just some mere petty fight. I knew something worse had happened.
It turned out that my mom stole the money from this woman who was equally as broke as we were, and was saving up for her child’s schooling. And well, you know how desperate we people are for money.
Love could make you do crazy things.. and the desire for money does not mix well together with it.
After finding out that my mother was murdered because of my own sake, I kind of just.. lost it.
I ran as far as I could. And I just gave up on life. I didn’t care where my feet would take me. I didn’t care what would people think of my appearance and my strange behavior. I just stopped caring.
I stumbled on this valley and I liked its simplicity. No riot, no jealousy of who’s got what’s, and most of all, money wasn’t a big deal. Ever since, I just stuck here.
For years I have been trying so hard to keep this shoes on despite my growing feet. It was the only physical fragment of the only person who treasured me that I have. I took them off and felt the instant pleasure of being able to relax my toes.
I hold them close and lay down next to the spring. I close my eyes, wishing to see my mother again in my dreams.