Ghetto Dances: I felt trapped

Onie Ndoro is a an IELTS tutor, ghostwriter and storyteller.

Mai VaMaidei kept me waiting. I was standing idly by on the pavement. It was a Saturday and many people were crowding the streets and pavements.

Opposite me across the street there was a blind woman. She was seating on the pavement with her begging bowl.

A small boy, it must have been her child was assisting her and sometimes accosting potential good Samaritans.

It was the end of month. People were just passing by as if the blind woman did not exist.

All my hands were deep in my pockets as I clasped my wallet tightly. There was a five dollar note and this was the only money between me and my means of survival.

The day temperatures had soared and I was feeling the heat. I could even feel the uncomfortable sweat under my armpits. I was irritated. Mai Maidei was taking too long to come back.

One of her market woman friends had told her that there was a china shop in town that sold cheap kitchen utensils.

And knowing Mai Maidei, she would knock things around in the shop checking if she was getting the correct value for her money.

I regretted the journey to town with her and all my protestations of avoiding the trip had fallen on deaf ears.

“Mike come here,” said the blind woman to the boy.

The boy left what he was doing. The blind woman continued to unfold a plastic.

The boy took several slices of white bread and drank some water from a bottle by the side of the blind woman.

A lady who was passing by stopped at that moment and gave the small boy a half- finished packet of fresh chips.

The boy and his mother shared the fresh chips. All the other pedestrians passing by went about their business.

The blind woman started to sing. I knew the song. It was a sad rendition.

The song went like this :

“I did not choose to be blind!

I was born blind!

I did not choose to be blind

I was born blind!

I don’t want the street life!

But such is my fate!”

I began to feel guilty. I clasped the five dollar note tightly in my pocket. It was like it wanted to fly away on its own accord.

I could hear my inner voice telling me to do the honourable thing. This was not good. On the other hand, Mai Maidei was still in the China shop. This was a trap.

Even though I tried to look sideways and ignore the blind woman, my eyes kept zooming back on the woman.

If it was a one- dollar note, it would not have given me a headache. I had never given away a five-dollar note before under these circumstances.

And then just at that moment, a man and woman who appeared very much in love came and stood by the blind woman.

The man was stockily built while the lady was of medium size.

They were eating some French fries and chicken. Mike, the little boy went to them begging, but the man was not amused.

He drove the little boy away angrily and continued enjoying his hot French fries and chicken with much gusto.

At this point I was sheepish and embarrassed. I could still feel my five dollar note in my pocket.

Mike continued to look hopefully at the duo who had no eyes for anyone else. There was still no sign of Mai VaMaidei.

The latent heat from the scorching sun burnt my body mercilessly. I was sweating profusely this time.

The heat was also coming from inside. And the inner voice was even louder.

I suddenly crossed the street diagonally and went straight for the blind woman. I dug in my pocket for the five -dollar note. I took hold of the woman’s open palm and gave the blind woman the money, leaving me penniless.

Mike came running.

“Mother! Mother! Mother! That's five dollars,” he exclaimed with much surprise and excitement.

The moment I gave out the money, I felt a huge sense of relief.

The blind woman thanked me from the bottom of her heart. She spoke rapidly as she made a short prayer for me.

“May God bless you abundantly and increase your harvest a hundredfold.” I was elated.

It was just at about that moment I saw Mai VaMaidei crossing Charter Street towards me clutching a huge synthetic plastic dish which was laden with kitchen utensils like pots, a frying pan and china cups.

“I have used all my money, I hope you still have money for our bus fare back home,” she saidbreathlessly.

I felt trapped.

  • Onie Ndoro is a an IELTS tutor, ghostwriter and storyteller. For feedback:  Twitter@Onie90396982/email:[email protected] 0773007173



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