13 February, 2008 | 2 comments | Category: I.dentity, i.mmigration, love.of.words!, nostalgia.personal, prose.tales
around 30 minutes past the hour she strut-walks out, a little bounce to her steps and a content little smirk playing across her cafe-latte face. it is drizzling. the black-as-charcoal shiny ground mirrors white, yellow and orange car lights with blurry imprecision. ‘how pretty’, she thinks.
its work day over her head bobs in complete abandon to beats of tunes causing a pleasant ruckus where a zillion buzzy thoughts were whizzing few instants earlier. Her smirk widening, she makes her way through a tall metropolitan jungle of concrete, glass and cleanliness formidable and contrasting the urban metropolis of a sub-Saharan country she hails from.
rejecting the willpower to contain herself, she increases the spring in her steps and adds a bigger bounce to her walk toward the bus stop. intermittently squeaking, mumbling and bellowing out pieces of the lyric of a song in her second language she strides on, adamant about her full enjoyment of the music and the soft soothing spray of watery droplets from above.
reaching the stop she stands, facing the direction from which a bus will inevitably swoosh down. inevitably- buses like water slide down slopes… Her eyes distractedly dance along the charcoal-black slope only partially seeing. she is swept away in the sounds and words, the volume cranked up high, the music soars with her senses failing to arrest only one: her vision. several many moments pass.
tapping along, hip-twitching along, humming and mumbling along…and then she starts a little wiggle -fully oblivious of her surroundings. for a couple more minutes…jamming…jamming. bouncing. vibing with the music….
she sighs. stopping. smiling.
Then…she notices there were no fresh water droplets on her coat….
how could that…….(!!!)
abruptly, she turns around and her heart JUMPS- threatening to leap right up her throat!
“Oh my God!” ….exhale…
There is another human being right behind her!
…a human inordinately close, discomfortingly…breathing down her neck!! … she saw papery white skin crinkling up into a grimace. decidedly- almost contentedly, the old lady was holding up an umbrella above them both! The lady was wearing layers and layers of what looked like a red tent and a flowery sash with a big floppy maroon hat covering half her face. The other hand was holding a large white handbag with disproportionately huge crafty pink flowers blotched onto it…this was She. This was the old lady she had seen at this stop before. The lady’s voice had withered and trembled when it had tried to be projected, what the lady had said escapes her memory.
exhale…”Oh sorry!! I didn’t see you there!!”
the wrinkly eyelids twitch as the old lady acknowledges that she had heard; the faint grimace still tugging the corners of her thin lips…
“uh….thank ….you……. (?)” with a question mark. she steps forward away from the old lady, toward the slope.
Maybe it was her quirky imagination but it seemed the old lady made a tiny step closer with the umbrella, seemingly to proclaim: ‘no more water droplets are claiming territory on your coat if I have anything to do with! I say no! not on my watch!’
‘hmmm?….so they share umbrellas in this country too? .smile. ‘interesting…’
‘is funny…’ almost unconsciously and abruptly she takes another instinct-inspired step forward.
‘ha! the irony! guess who’s more conscious of personal space…?’
“…mhhmmhm…” she starts to hum again fighting to reclaim her obliviousness until the bus comes…
Possibly Related Posts:
- A Saturday at the Wharton Africa Business Forum
- The Graying of these here Pink Shades
- When I’m Back
- Flattery: Fast-tracking Success?
- Opposite Sides of the Border
2 comments to “zxantila vibes: under umbrella”
funny how we’re all conscious of and tend to keep to our own little bubble. Really fundamental humanity doesn’t change just ’cause you’re in another part of the world! a lot of things can happen if we’re positive and open to experience, not just open in the mind but open to the idea of experience, not in just thought but also in action,
I think i would argue that we’re also shy of being the first to have that instant gesture, reaching out to people, and sometimes it turns into who does what first, but the bottom line is – it really doesn’t matter who does what and who does it first, for kindness doesn’t ask for anything in return
wow…Thank you for your very insightful comments Nani! I love the completely different insights and perspective different people who read a piece have! Similar to what you said, one main thing that really struck me from the girl’s experience is that, she, is the immigrant in this situation – she is the one who is being bombarded with the inputs of the western world. She is assimilating into the mainstream of a different culture. While at the base of it all, it is endearing, and really touching to see the simple humanity the old lady approaches the girl with, despite the lack of words from the lady, her actions spoke louder, she reached out with the umbrella to share a shelter with a complete stranger, another human.
And funny enough, the thoughts that course through the girl’s mind speak of the alienation that she was becoming acculturated with, even though she is from a communal society – where sharing an umbrella is commonplace, she simply finds it uncomfortable to be so close physically to another human being!!