We walked pass that old man, my sister and I. We walked pass the way everyone else did; like he didn't exist. He leant back on an old trash can, cigarettes and cement is his bed. He doesn't rattle his cup, he doesn't move at all and the words on his card board sign is written as though he'd dipped his finger in a darkish substance I'd rather not contemplate. All the street-people looked this way. Their signs looked all the same; made of the same derelict, ripped cardboard, the same inky smeared writing medium, the same matted hair, dirty, gaunt faces and the same rank, grimy clothing. They were all the same. Whether they were white, or black, old or young, they were all the same.
It must be because every single one of them had the same expression. No expression. Were they dead inside, to look like that?
My sister continued walking and I followed her. I don't have much money but my sister does. She's travelled to India, Malaysia, America, Vanuatu, New Zealand and half of Europe. I slowed my steps, I don't want to ask her, but I want to help that old man. I'm not sure if she notices. Maybe her travels have hardened her, maybe when she sees the street people; she sees people that are dead; bodies devoid of souls or feeling or any humanity.
I remember her missions' trip to Vanuatu, when she was fresh eyed and in love. She was studying Health at University; she wanted to be a doctor. I remember the photos; dark red skinned children with caramel braided hair hanging from my sisters' neck and mouths stretched in big white grins. I remember my sisters' passion, her friendliness, the way she integrated herself socially and the way people accepted her easy charm and laughing manner.
My sister never became a doctor. I think she ran out of love. Her face is worn and her smiles are slow and sardonic. There is such a well of love in her heart, underneath the cynicism and bitterness. She is one of those people that liberally and veritably give and give of themselves to exhaustion and never ask anything back, never expect anything back. Her pride makes her one of the hardest people to thank because she pretends everything she does for others is for her own self-interest.
We pass a KFC, a McDonalds and a yiros kiosk. I want to ask her to stop. I want to, but I don't. My feet are sore; my heels aren't comfortable and my sisters' steps are brisk and business-like. Its night, it's late and it's cold. We don't have time to stop.
Tonight my sister is going to buy me a forty dollar meal and a white margarita. I like margaritas.
Guilt is an unpleasant feeling and what's worse; I'm guilty of doing nothing. My heart isn't heavy over the human condition, the neglect of starving hopeless people or even societies apathy. My heart is heavy because when I look at it all, I'm so thoroughly desensitised I have to dredge up my compassion by the hair, turn its head and make myself feel something.
When did it get this hard?
Hey Folks, I wasn't sure what genre to put this in. It's not much but it's real and honest and truthful. I wasn't really aiming to be thought provoking or life changing. It's just feelings and thoughts I have and things I've experienced I guess. Like why is it so hard to feel compassion and why do I feel more sadness and guilt over that – why not over the actual despairing, miserable people all over the world? I dunno. You get me? I hope you all have a really great night/day