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On the streets of Vereeniging

Yesterday I spent the day sitting at a friend’s clothes market by the road side in Vereeniging, SA. I just needed to have a chat with someone, living alone can be torture.

A man arrived and got into a conversation with my friend. I couldn’t believe my ears. I kept on staring at him in disbelief. His image still haunts me even when I’m awake. I gaze into empty space and recall his dirty and torn clothes. He moved with the agility of a tiger. It was obvious that he was still young and in good health. His nimblensss caught my eye. In another life, he could even be a soccer player.

He poked the rubbish heap close to where I sat with my friend at her market. He found an empty can, looked like a Coke can and tossed it inside one of the three black refuse plastic bags he carried over his shoulder.

I wondered when last he took a bath. When last did he have a warm meal? When last did he feel the warm embrace of a woman? Did he ever have a lover? Does he have any children? His hair was not very long, he probably wasn’t on the streets for too long.

Where does he sleep?

What was his name? What was his story? It was his impeccable command of the English language that made me stare at him in disbelief. He didn’t stutter. His English was fluent, why was he on the streets?

If you could close your eyes and listened to him, you would be forgiven to think you’re listening to some executive in a fancy suit.

Everyone has a story. It’s not everyone who is down is lazy and uneducated. Never ever judge a person who is going through a hard time. If you would spare some time to listen, you’d hear a story that might happen, even to you.

About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.

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