I Am

On a street corner, I sit. I watch. I listen. People pass. Some don’t notice me, others do. I can see it in their eyes, the disgust, the fear, the sympathy. I have seen many eyes in my many years, but today, the looks are different: they don’t penetrate my soul like previous days, they sit on the surface, spontaneous and meaningless.

The tip of the pencil resting in my hand finds its way onto the final page of my notebook. My hand moves across the page, this way and that, with no intention of stopping to contemplate its next move. Around it goes, adding light, shade, beauty. My eyes need not look at the paper, for my eyes are my hands, and my hands are my eyes. They are one and the same, connected by a strange and unconscious emotion.

I am calm, tired and frail, yet my hand moves with more and more determination, intensity and desire for completeness, as if it is a separate part of my ever-aging body. I close my eyes, and continue to make line, after line, after line. I feel more stares sitting on my skin, but I continue; I let time and people pass.

I feel the strokes become thicker, more brutal. Encased by the shadows of buildings and people, my hand ensures that no part of the scene is forgotten. As I sense it will never be the same again, I allow my hand to lead me across the page.

Slowly, I begin to feel the wood scraping against the paper, and I know that my work is complete. For I own no sharpener to retrieve the lead, encased in the light brown wood. It is a curse and a blessing, for with it, I would scrutinise. I would change it, perfect it. But without it, the work is true, not altered, and shall remain that way.

As my eyes move from the scorching tarmac, fancy cars and clothing, my eyes rest on the image I have created. An old body looks back at me, covered with tatters and dirt; her eyes are bright and defiant. There is beauty in her jaw bone, her wide eyes, her wrinkles, her nose and cheeks, but nothing else. Her body is backed by a bland brick wall, encasing her body. She sits on the ground, with nothing but the clothes on her back, a notebook and a pencil. But on her lips, sits a smile. A smile that is complete, comforting, content and genuine.

As I peruse the image, I realise, that just like my notebook, I am complete and full: of emotion, experience and memories. I am complete, I am comforted, I am content and I am happy. Those glares do not faze me anymore, and never will again. As my eyelids plunge my body into complete and eternal darkness, my lips turn upward and I smile.

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