Monday, February 9, 2015

Sweet and innocent, childish colours

As we walked past the colourful coke ad at the bus stop -- the one with the cans ranged in sweet and innocent rows, as she called them -- in sweet and innocent, childish colours -- my friend told me about the woman who had called out for help with the coke can that was stuck in the side of her pram -- this coke can that the woman was having trouble getting out because she had no hands or wrists, and in place of ankles, a metal bar in each of her shoes -- and how it had been the metal bars that my friend had first noticed as she passed the woman who was worrying at the sides of her pram, the dark metal bars of her legs at an angle -- this woman who in that furred way of someone who might have been drunk but perhaps only helpless and annoyed at the allotment of words she'd been given at birth had called out for help in retrieving what turned out to be a half-empty can of coke, and whose baby all the while was lying on its back in the pram, apparently happy. My friend then told me that for the whole day after this she had been unable to forget that she had helped the woman get her can of coke -- her standard coloured can of coke -- and that it had made her sick, for some reason, to think that she had done this -- why should it make her sick -- why on earth? And the only thing my friend had been able to say to the woman at the time, she said, was about the baby: something about it being beautiful. Which it was.

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