Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The creature crouched on the uneven sidewalk, shivering. She arched her back to protect herself from the wind. It seeped through her fur barring her small bones underneath. Esther saw the boys coming out of the corner of her eye. She was suddenly afraid. This country had much history of cruelty to the weak. She remembered coming across a mangled kitten once. It had had no legs or tail. She cringed and yet kept her eyes fixed through the dirty bus window on the little kitten. The tallest of the boys saw the kitten first. He strode over and bent down. A car had stopped in between the bus and the sidewalk and Esther couldn’t see what the boy was doing. As the car slowly moved on she caught a glimpse of his hand. He was stroking the shivering creature gently. He looked up quickly and caught her staring at him. She saw that there was no cruelty in his eyes. It was strange that he in that instant became a hero to her. Was it not a bravery to be just and gentle in a country steeped in injustice and brutality? As the bus moved on down the hill, she looked at the faces, all those hoards of men who would have not been merciful as that boy had been. What was it that gave them pleasure in taking advantage of the weak? They did it to their own wives and children as well. Was it that they could not forget that they had lost to an unjust world? They were all drowning in poverty. The world’s cruelty had gotten the best of them. Did they then feel that they had to win at something, had to defeat something, even if it was those who were innocent and defenseless. It was no use. Esther could not understand that part of the world. She was lost in her own just as they were lost in theirs. Perhaps we all are deceived and drowning, she thought. Perhaps I, with all of my imaginations and fancies am drowning in lies just as much as they. It is only the kinds of lies we are bound to that differ; I am bound to the denial of pain, they are bound to the servitude of it. Wouldn’t it be so much better if we were free of pain altogether? We should be. It seems that is how it should have been. It has never been on this earth, and yet, I think it must be true somewhere or I would not wish it.


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