DIDDIE KINAMUN JACKSON
An entry in The Crocodile Prize
IT was a bright Saturday afternoon and we were coming back from a graduation celebration ceremony, merry from the family outing.
Dad was at the wheel, mum at her usual place beside him. I sat on the back seat with my aunt.
My brothers were at home, left behind because dad and mum said they were a headache - “uncontrollable males, typical of them boys”.
In a way it was good because we had peace of mind: a great relief to my vocal chords.
The ceremony had been fun for my parents who had a child graduating from university; they would give anything for their child to be happy.
But that didn’t stop mum really nagging dad about this and that and anything that came to mind, typical of mums wanting to know everything.
I hate listening to that crap, so I just pushed the earpiece deeper into my ear, blasting the world away with music.
Dad wanted to shut up mum, so he drove like hell which was very scary but in a way good because mum was frightened of speeding cars or anything that had wheels and moved fast. So she shut her mouth and hoped dad would drive at normal pace.
I was glad she did but I know she’s always right in what she says, God bless her soul.
Suddenly we came to an abrupt halt as dad hit hard on the brakes at the traffic lights. In fact he nearly ran into the red light. He was a bit drunk, I think, and he was cursing mum in a friendly sort of way.
The green light shone and, as we were about to go, dad said sharply, “Give me some coins! Give me some coins!”
I pulled the earpiece out and popped my head up, trying to see what the commotion was about.
Then I saw a small huddled figure sitting patiently, a dirty shirt placed in front of him, waiting for a kind-hearted person to throw him some loose change.
My heart melted and we searched frantically to give him something while the other cars were hooting their horns at us.
Dad felt bad I knew, and I had all sorts of thoughts running through my head. “What if that was one of my brothers?” I closed my eyes tightly, trying to block the ragged image out of my mind as silent tears welled up.
The thought of not giving him anything made me feel guilty, he looked to be 10 or 12 years old and was trying to fend for himself.
His image disturbed me all night. Oh, how I thank God that I was blessed to have a loving family and food on the table.
The ragged dirty face taught me a valuable lesson that, whatever little I thought I had, it was plenty enough.