Like Dancing Chairs…

I had gone through this route before. Countless times, but today I connected with it all.

When the traffic lights turned red they marched in a procession toward the shiniest cars. It was like a game of dancing chairs- who could get the most money before the lights turned green. Except this was not a game, it was a fight for survival.

The little ones, bare feet and unassuming moved through traffic quickly trying to reach as many cars as possible. I was sure they were timing themselves- 15 seconds, or less if the driver was ignoring them.

The disabled were there too, plenty. Few on wheelchairs, many with long walking sticks while double amputees were on make shift ‘planks-on-wheels’. The latter had it hardest, rolling their way through traffic to salon cars, avoiding the 4 Wheel Drives- too high to get any attention- only the very ambitious  bothered.

I saw the able bodied- mostly young men, with worn out glass cleaning wipers and Eva bottles filled with green foamy liquid. Though fewer in number, these ones I could tell pride themselves in their ‘service’. They were in search of ‘dirty windscreens’ and of course spare change. In spite of it all they were no different from the others they ignored the dirty commercial buses and taxis favouring only the shiny cars.

The clock was ticking; the lights would change in no time. The little ones had just about gone to all the cars, while the adults played catch up.

 In this race, this fight for survival they had to contend with the vendors. They were the undeniable winners of attention, with many more willing to trade than empathise.

The vendors were more than them- men, women, children hawking  plantain chips, biscuits, mints, garden eggs, books, drinks, yogurts, inflatable beds, teddy bears, handkerchiefs, tissues, stationary. There was an endless stream of them; all moving fast only stopping when there was interest. They were attentive and ready to jump off the road when the lights turned green.

Just as with dancing chairs, the music stopped, the lights turned green and everyone ran to  the kerb, the disabled first, the traders last- always trying to hold up traffic.

For everyone it was a two minute hustle on repeat every six minutes when the lights turned red again and every participant was ready to try their shot at this hustle till the night came when the grid-lock began and they were more cars to visit.

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I failed to tell

He doesn’t hold my hand as tightly as he did before.
I know why, I just cannot believe that he would be so affected by it.
He found out that I had lied to him. I had failed to share with him a vital part about my past, I kept him in the dark all those years to protect him. At least that is how I wanted to rationalise it.
10 years ago I found out that I had fibroids. I was shocked, ashamed and confused. I was not married then. The doctors ran me through my options. The option I picked then is what separates me from him.

We are waiting at the bus stop on a cold Monday morning about to board the 61 to town.
We chose to get rid of our cars a few months ago because of Kola’s new found green love. He wanted to save the planet so badly that our life style changed with each new conservation idea. I loved seeing him passionate about something and I welcomed each innovation by complying.
We have two cats and a small house. We were living the life for three years. No external family, no comments. We were a perfect fit in this society.

Sitting in my dressing room taking off my make makeup after work, I wonder what sort of woman I had become. I lied to my husband, and now he does not look at me like he did before.
Was it really a lie, or had I just failed to tell him. Was an omission a lie?
I remember when we met we had dreams of travelling and living in a foreign country. He never once mentioned children. He was not a big fan. But I couldn’t tell whether he was just selfish being an only child, or he was kidding. At least now I know he wasn’t kidding. I mean what man knows what he wants at 23?

I resented what I had done. I was afraid, I did not know what telling him would do to us. I was sure he would still love me, but I was not certain. Especially because Anika was in the picture, it was too risky. So I kept my secret to my self and looked at him everyday wondering if he would love me the same way if I told him what I had done.

He walked into the room and ignored my existence. It was already a month since I told him, he was not over it. I deserved it, I did not blame him. I was selfish, and anything that would result from this I decided to accept.

‘You cannot keep ignoring me like this, I’m sorry, I don’t know how many times I need to tell you this’ I said almost in a whisper.
‘I’ll stop ignoring you when I am ready June. I mean how could you, how could you do this to me, to us?’
‘I had no choice, it was spreading, I was going to die. I decided to have a hysterectomy to save my life!’
‘Why didn’t you tell me? We dated for three years, yet you kept it from me. What am I going to tell my mum, that you are barren?’ That word rang in to the air louder than the bells of a cathedral.
‘You don’t have to tell her anything, we can adopt, there are other ways out of this…’ I tried to save the situation.

He had one hand up with his eyes shut as if trying to block my words. ‘I can’t do this’ he mumbled storming out of the room. I stood up and held his arm. There was so much anger tied up in his muscles that I let go immediately.

‘Are u ending us?’ I said.
He paused, sighed heavily and shut the door angrily.
I knew it was over.

I had ended us not him by failing to share my secret with him. There are few things in this world that hurt a man, and I know now that concealing secrets is one of them.