Thursday, October 30, 2014

Moving Portraits. Sacred secret stories.

She walked slowly; the clear lines in her small wrinkled hands holding on loosely to her yellow bag. From afar you'd never have noticed the shrinking hands shaking with every step she took.

Her yellow bag was small enough for her pink handkerchief and a roll of money she had counted as sufficient for the journey: One two thousand shilling note, one one thousand shilling note and a five hundred shilling coin.  Her eyes were looking down, avoiding the glares of the numerous young people in this part of town.

She used to be young. She remembered her quick feet when she was strolling with her girlfriends forty years ago. Loud conversation in the street, hoping they would be envied. And they were. Pretty sundresses with the summer hats and oversized sunglasses.

She looked up occasionally to see how far the gate was. Her watery eyes didn't look long. Her black lips mumbled a bit and then went mum.

I paused a while as I passed by her. What kept her going at her age?

The woman wasn't old. She was probably twenty-three, it was evident when she smiled. However when the smile faded and she had to shut up the three screaming children walking with her; boy of seven, girl of three, boy of two; you could have thought she was in her forties.

The eldest boy carried a nineties style Adidas tennis bag. There were rivulets of sweat coming down his brow, his face was oily, it was very hot. The bag was weighing him down however, he only seemed focussed on following his mom to the gate.

She had three children at twenty three. There was no man with her. He made the occasional cameo when he missed her, when he missed her brown skin. She could never say no. However, all the burden of looking after their children was hers. So today she would take them to their grandma.

I paused a while as I passed by her. Did she merely live as the day came or she looked forward to something.

Moving portraits. I encounter them each day. Usually my ear phones are plugged in, to try to drown out the questions and journeys in my mind when I see the faces , but the portraits shout at me. They force me out of my mind's skin into another's.

Moving portraits. Sacred secret stories.

Photo: http://www.eoainternational.org/

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