I walked past a dirty dingy shop. It smelled of some kind of eatables. I looked at the man overhead and hoped he’d give me something to eat. At the end of every day he would give me the not-so-fresh-smelling food from the day. But I could not complain. At least the man was kind enough to give me something more than many other brutes.
There were times when I would go from place to place in search of food and in search of love – of affection – no strings attached – just pure affection. But soon, I discovered that what I sought did not exist in its entirety – at least not for all of us.
This one time, I slowly approached this tree of a man hoping to get some food. I had come to expect generosity from strangers since there were many in the past who had not only fed me but had also carelessly showered me with affection (of course, they were rare). At the end of the day, they were strangers. They came as swiftly as they went away. So I came to this realisation that there were quite a number of men who were generous.
Coming back to my story, I had approached this man once who was really tall. He stood in front of this makeshift shop which sold some food and liquid. I remember many people taking food from this shop and many being generous with me. So with the general expectation, I approached him only to be kicked in the stomach hard..This is where it all began.
I became scared after that incident and thought to myself, “That man is dangerous and there might be many like him.” My stomach hurt for days. I could not eat properly, I could not rest on my stomach like I did before. Sometimes, in the night, I would dream of a mob of men coming at me and kicking me in the stomach and I saw myself writhing in pain. I would be relieved every time I woke up from my sleep to discover that it was only a dream – a nightmare.
I felt wary every time I saw some tall man planting his eyes on me for more than just a few seconds. It got worse. It was late in the night once when a man whose steps were not steady seemed to want to talk to me. He swayed and stared at me as I fearfully stared back. He definitely was referring to me because I saw his swaying body moving towards me. He talked some foreign language. As he walked towards me in the dead of the night I felt overwhelmed with fear. I stood perplexed and the next thing I knew, he got hold of a couple of stones and hurled them at me. Most of them missed because he could not stand straight and aim. He tried about five times as I moved away trying to escape. But I was sleeping against this curb which had no exit except for the one at which the swaying man stood speaking gibberish all through his attempt at attacking me. I felt fear and I felt helpless. I wanted to escape but did not know how. One stone hit my leg. I yelped, I howled in pain. I wanted to stop him. But I was overpowered by the affliction.
He walked away after some time when he was satisfied that he had hurt me enough. I was petrified and howled endlessly until I passed out. I woke up after days or what seemed like years to feel the pain in my throat and leg. I could not move my leg. I tried to walk but it pained a lot for me to walk. I felt a pang in my stomach. It was hunger. I had had no food for a long time. I somehow managed to limp after hours and reach what seemed like a garbage dump. I fished for some food. I found very little edibles and picked them out. I ravished the dump of food and satiated my hunger.
As I was engrossed in my pitiable condition, I realised what a mistake I had made in thinking that these tall men could love me. I was scared whenever I felt anything moving. Days, months, maybe even years passed before I recuperated. I had become stronger, now, mentally and physically. But I was weak at heart when I encountered strange men staring at me. I felt they would hurt me, and if given the opportunity, kill me as well. I did not know what had I done to face their ire. So I tried to keep off them as much as possible. The usual shop from where I would get food was not an option anymore since I did not want to risk my life. No, I could not.
I found ways of stealing food from some places. But that was also risky at times. I was lucky to manage some steals without the knowledge of owners and if was luckier, then passersby would shower me with generosity and give me meat and other varieties of food. I would look at them with suspicion every time and I would always keep a safe distance from them.
I sometimes even yelled at them to leave me alone. So they would retract but they would place the food at a safe distance and leave, After they left I would hog on the food. It was usually really good. Then, came this woman who made it a point to visit every day. I had yelled at her many times for her to understand the drill.
She would come to the place where I usually slept and keep an assortment of food at a distance from me. I would pretend every day to not look while she did that. But I would steal some glances at the delicious smelling food. There were colourful bowls with different kinds of food. I could not expect anything better in life. I started liking her a lot. But I was too scared to let her approach me. So every time she would put forth the food, I would yell at her and she would leave.
She spoke a foreign language too, similar to my attacker. I could not understand her first. But as she routinely came to feed me, I realised those were words of affection. I was too scared to acknowledge them. She had tried, on many counts, to try and come closer to me. But I yelled or ran in the opposite direction every time she did that!
I could not understand why she was being so generous. At times I felt like allowing her to come closer. But I was always on guard and never could trust anybody to not hurt me. I was not only wounded physically but mentally as well.