Friday, August 19, 2011

The gatherer

It’s not hot yet; the sun sends its rays from hardly above the horizon. Most of the people are still asleep.

The lad is maybe 10 or 12 years old. Probably younger. He isn’t tall but lean. His sun-bleached long hair is mazily hanging down to his chin. He is wearing a shabby dark blue sweater and baggy, torn trousers that once might have been green. Or grey. Or blue. His eyes are wandering in the early morning shade over the ground, into hollows, ditches and construction sites. His right hand is pulling a huge, white, tear-resistant bag alongside him while his feet are gliding swiftly over the bumps left over by the consumer society.  Broken bricks, crushed cans, cardboard shreds, bottle caps, glass splinters, cigarette packages, plastic pipes, fruit juice packages, plastic bottles, aglets… and last but not least sand and stones.

The lad disappears between walls, knows where to find what he is looking for, what makes him get valuable cash from the recyclers.

One and half an hour later, a white, round monster is moving on the sideway in the direction towards the gate where a donkey carriage is waiting in the shadow. The lad can hardly be discerned: his hands are holding tight the collected goods above his head, his back is heavily bent so that his head is on the same level with his knees. His looks are concentrating on the next 50 centimetres of bitumen. The load is heavy, he is almost crawling on all fours which he would, if he didn’t need his hands to clutch his load. Only a couple of meters are left, but he tumbles down, remains laying on the hot bitumen to rest and breath. Then he picks himself up, carries his load further on towards his dad who is waiting in the shadow of the donkey carriage.

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