The Old Beggar

The Old Beggar

The beauty and freedom of Friday scented the whole air.
I strolled down inhaling breaths of excellence through the famed Milford street,
light blue skies stretched the horizon with wonder,
they showered bubbles of delight.

Smiles decorated faces as laughter flushed their countenance.
The rays of the summer sun beamed through the gaps left by the shimmering white clouds.
They seeped through windows of skyscrapers and low-storied buildings casting shadows at angles.

The dark tarmac roads hosted the steps of busy pedestrians,
back and forth in their tens and hundreds they walked,
some as busy as ants,
others dragged their feet as lazy snails.
I watched vehicles dash through the two-laned road as quick as traffic could permit.
Departmental stores were abundant as air, offices lavish as dust.

I stopped by the corner of Farmers store, looking through the transparent crystal-like window.
The bright lights dressed the showcases with splendor. They were never so inviting as they broke every chain of restraint.

Dresses and shoes were positioned perfectly as bait for the eye.
I could hear the sound of jazz music penetrating the surroundings,
it grabbed my attention like a wild pig arrested by a trap. 

I looked intently. Before I could drop my gaze, I felt a sensation at the lower ends of body, my trousers.
I looked down to see what it was,
and there was an old beggar.
I never knew he sat there until his wrinkled fingers tugged around my feet.
His dirty blonde hair were tucked in his hood.

I saw his cheeks sagged like the udders of a malnourished cow.
I looked carefully to see that his striking hazel eyes were very noticeable.
The yellowish brown stain on his teeth proved he was a frequent smoker.
He wore a shabby short-sleeved shirt and his scruffy trousers were the form of floor rags with holes.

He raised his arm which displayed how pale his skin was.
A tattoo was inked on his left wrist which had grown green because of time.
“50 cents, please” the old beggar said to me,
as he cupped his palm to receive money.
“I need to buy a bottle of water,” he added.

His eyes kept fixed at me,
they looked so pitiful like a puppy that had just been whipped, hollow as an empty tunnel.
“50 cents,” he cried once more, then stopped like strength had failed him.
“What should I do?” I wondered.

The old beggar didn’t stop looking at me.
I noticed his hazel eyes welled up with tears.
He twisted his head at an angle as if that should help receive the money,
then he lowered his arm and tugged the helm of my trousers like he had done.
I watched him closely by the eye and in a fit of disgust I yanked off his fingers from my trousers and left in anger.

I headed forward towards the upper end of Milford street.
The beauty and grandeur never ceased to entice me.
I watched private jets fly above and observed activity boom below.
“New Zealand rocks,” I screamed out loud to the puzzle of bystanders,
then visited a restaurant and bar before starting my way down the famous street.
I watched the setting sun confirm my accomplished adventure of sightseeing.

Once more, I stopped at Farmers as the beauty drilled pleasure through my senses.
Everything seemed to be as it was, like a video on replay, or as if the hands of time were paused:
The light bulbs glistened, movements were still random and the jazz music remained captivating.

Then I remembered,
yes, I remember,
“The beggar, there was an old beggar out here,” I said to myself.
I scanned the area: the building corners, the stores, beside the traffic lights.
“Where is the old beggar that once sat here?” I asked a store attendant who stood by the door.

“I’ve got something for him,” I continued, as I dipped my hand to my pocket and roamed inside.
The store attendant looked stunned.
“He’s dead,” she said,
“Dead, how come?” I asked.
“He died an hour ago, he was dehydrated,” she replied walking back into the store.
I stood dumbfounded as my hand covered my wide-open mouth.

  • Valentine is a postgraduate student of Information Technology in New Zealand. He writes as a hobby, loves cats and gives good music the freedom to work good.

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