The journey home was just that, a journey. A mere means to get from one place to another. I had walked here a thousand times before and no longer paid attention to the cry of beggars, the bashing of tin bins or the rattling of spray cans finally getting their moment of glory.
The CBD teemed with people; scholars, mothers with children, workers and several groupies. I continued walking and within a matter of seconds the most magnificent blue sky turned grey and dark clouds rolled in. I had no umbrella on hand and decided to surrender and walk it out.
The rain was merciless and the wind relentless. I had no choice but to turn back and make my way back to the terminal and hopefully get the next bus home.
Realising I had to walk down the same street twice in one day made me angry. I felt annoyed, flustered and ashamed to call this my daily route. I was suddenly thinking about all the beggars I would have to pass again, all the dirt bins I would have to manoeuvre through and all those vandals I would have to try my best to ignore. Hot flushes surged through my body and I felt defeated for having to endure it all again.
In the midst of my thoughts I was distracted and slipped in some water. I had succumbed to my emotions at that point and started crying for who knows what exactly. At that moment, a middle-aged barefoot man came towards me with an umbrella. At his side was a small girl of no more than five years old. He offered his hand and the umbrella and proceeded to help me to my feet. I was quite humbled by his kind gesture, but shook him off as soon as I was up again.
Walking more speedily, mostly due to embarrassment, I hurried along and was startled to hear someone call after me. Of course, I did not turn back for fear of being persuaded into giving handouts; which we are all warned against. I heard footsteps thumping towards me in the rain and finally their pace matched mine. I sighed and began to think of reasons as to why I would not be shelling out this time.
The middle-aged man had come after me in the rain. The little girl was sopping wet and clung to him, her drenched shirt clung to him as if they were of the same skin. She outstretched her arm and I saw my purse. I peered over my shoulder and saw that the zip on my bag was open. I took it back hastily and thanked them for their good deed. However, as I walked off, I saw them retreating to the dustbins. A place I threw trash in and talked trash about, was one where they found solace.
I was suddenly overcome with guilt, kindness and compassion towards the man and child. I walked towards them and found the child neatly tucked between two bins. In her dry and warm haven. She was using the spray cans to paint a flower on some newspaper. At that moment, I remembered that I had bought some crayons for my daughter and still had them in my bag. I placed them neatly next to her with some money and left.
Had my assumptions been so wrong all these years? Predicaments are a result of circumstance.
Since then I have learned to be grateful for what I have and appreciate all that is around me. Life would not be as exciting if I was just waiting to reach a destination; I have learned to enjoy the journey. So I appreciate both the good days and the bad. After all, it takes a little rain to make a rainbow.