The city sounds of ordered chaos, the constant wave of people crossing back and forth like a human tide. Strangers cut in and out of their tiny groups and barely miss colliding. Honks and bleats hasten the crowds pace as they race to cross the road. Some people stare at their phones, others watch the road but no one looks directly at another human being. Somewhere, near here and in-between there just off to the side a stranger sits mumbling, barely coherent.
The age lines run so deep into his skin that they might as well be built in. White stubble paints a drawn slightly sunburnt face. Deep dark blue eyes scan the city life for some unknown relief.
A red line catches his eyes, followed by a childlike voice singing playfully. “Watch me mommy.”
Tiny matchbox cars race around a shallow hole. The little cars cross dips and dirt ramps increasing the young boy’s excitement, as he mimics his favorite show. They crash into a partially exposed root. “Brrckkkeeech bccccch.”A fake explosion sounds. Dusk begins to fall as the cars settle into their makeshift cereal box garage. Smiling and dusty the boy crosses the small road, then the tiny parking lot, and comes home.
Long dirty white hair falls messily across the man’s worn face. All but a few awkwardly placed teeth are gone. Some are yellow while others are darker and rotting. His breath reeks. The emaciated figure feels the cramps of hunger pains. A brown speckled haze clouds his vision, followed by a slight coldness and dizziness creeping over his body.
Cardboard swords clash in a titanic battle of good versus evil. Until the young victor jumps upon his sawhorse stead. A yowl of pain sounds as his tiny sac is smashed. The pain jolts upwards and inwards causing temporary paralysis. Thin legs scrape the wooden brace dragging chips of paint down with him as he falls off his fake saddle. The victor is defeated by pain. A few seconds later the internal pain passes and he is up and at it again, running straight for a large tree. At the last second he swerves barely avoiding a painful collision. In his mind a red cape swooshes behind him as he flies off to save metropolis.
The summer heat draws pit stains on the old man dirty orange tee. The neckline is stretched and has an almost circular pattern of moisture. Barely able to move, his sick stench draws the attention of flies. Bugs buzz by almost as frequently as strangers walking by.
Tears fall from the tiny child eyes, as he stumbles in pain. A deep gash runs red with lines of falling blood. His mother picks him up and carries him to the neighbor’s car. She whispers soft word of reassurance. The tears eventually stop.
The man clenches his chest. Pain permeates his being. His breath is lost. He stumbles falling harshly against the cold grey cement sidewalk. Tears fall. He reaches for strangers pleading weakly for their assistance. A foot smashes against his left side, causing more pain to flame up; while forcing him to edge of the sidewalk. The crowd keeps moving.
A stranger snarls “get out of the way you bum.”
“Watch me.” The old man whispers as he recalls his mother’s warmth. Soft kisses planted on his forehead. Sitting in the dark living room safely snuggled next to his mother as a scary storm rages violently against a small house.
“Watch me.” He cries. His voice, obscured by the city, fades and is forgotten.