The sun is a crisp contrast to the plain blue sky. I search for the puffs of clouds but they are nowhere to be found in the endless terrain of the day sky. Birds chirp around, hurrying to their chores, finding whatever they can for feeding themselves until the next day arrives. I couldn’t find any vegetables that I could cook for the day so I am guessing this will be another night on an empty stomach. But I am used to such hungry nights when I toss and turn, trying to ignore the rumbling in my hollow tummy.
A scar or two must have eventually settled on my face due to this grudge that I hold against poverty. A person can only sit in the company of poverty with patience when he’s still just a new friend to it. But longer than that, the company turns bitter and nothing but curse words escape one’s mouth when describing penury. This is another reason I hate myself. I can hardly ever make a few good pennies, decent enough to last me a month. But I know that the currency would not last that long.
Lucky for me, I am in the middle of the harvest season and there are a few coins that jingle in my pocket. I make a beeline straight for the honey tarts that the baker has to offer. Adriana loves the tarts and I would do anything to see her smile. Even if I have to kill the night with ceaseless hunger pangs.
As I round the corner with a small brown bag in my hand, the sun is already dipping. The corn fields sit on both sides of the narrow lane. I pass through this solitary part of the town, I hear a few titters behind my back. Without turning around to check who the small laughs belong to, I command my feet to pick pace.
A few nervous butterflies start to flitter around in my stomach, completely disoriented and anxious. I can feel the feet following me at a steady pace behind me. It is now that I can feel the strangers’ unfriendly stares pouring onto my back but the setting sun lights the shadows that follow me. And these do not belong to a single person. They come from a pack of boys, the ones who thrive to corner people like me, or just me, so to speak.
Knowing who they are, only turns my senses sour and useless. They throw in a few whistles to their laughter, which adds to my agony. I know I stand no chance to them. The only way out is a quick prayer. But the only problem with my escape plan is that my prayers are cotton fluffs that die before they reach the higher altitudes where the prayers are accepted.
My heart starts drumming with the stress that is quickly building in my chest. The boys behind me take longer strides, closing distance. For no reason, I start focusing on the rough road beneath my feet. It is a long way to go. It is rather never-ending.