CORONA DISCHARED

Friday, November 23, 2012

Traffic Lights (free writing)



“Son of a b-“ Mel nearly cursed when we missed the green light once again as I gave her a stern look full of warn. She grinned at me after as if just remembered how I hate that attitude of hers.

Cursing can’t be helped though, it must be our unlucky day. It’s that time of the month for the both of us and yet we had to restock our supply of the café we owned which meant that we had to go forth and back across the busiest street of the town.

I’m the co-owner and Mel is the founder of a little café in our very own neighborhood. It didn’t make that much but was enough to buy me three meals a day and at least a pair of clothes or shoes a month. It’s rather a convenient job for me though I would end up with little farthings when it’s holiday and our customers went out of the town and our café’s automatic door would only open when there were stray kittens walked past it.

I watched Mel in every single of her move and warned her constantly to queue like everyone did when I saw her steered the wheel slightly to the side about to cut the line. She replied with a sigh and a bored answer.

As the light turned green, she accelerated but our car was stopped once again by the next traffic light.

As Mel slowed down and stopped to queue, I saw groups of kid with their music making equipment or cleaning objects started to spread to the cars around us. They moved rather quickly from one car to another when the drivers waved their hands no from inside of the vehicles.

Traffic lights, people blamed them for making them late for their important meetings when it’s working but it’s also the source of the traffic, even accidents when it’s not working. But, for these kids, it’s all their source of food and life.

No one ever knew the existence of their parents that made them had to do this. It’s even possible that their parents were the ones who made them earn money this way.

There were too many sayings to face them that I’d ever learned in my life. My parents said they should have done better if their parents had worked and made more effort. It means that by giving them money, we had made them and their parents survived and thus would just make them keep working that way.

Some of the teachers in my elementary school had the same opinion but some of them said that we’re definitely luckier than them and by giving them a bit of what we have, it means that we’re thankful of our condition.

It was up until I finished college and met bunch and groups of them that I finally had my point of view.

Not everyone was born to be the son or daughter of the CEO of the most successful company of the country. Not everyone was born with the care given by their parents. Not everyone was even born with their parents’ presence.  Not everyone was born intentionally.

I was born with parents who had stable jobs and that counts as a great fortune even if I always had less pocket money than my group of friends. They could send me to school and pay for the fee of my chosen college that I’ve finished and that made me have the knowledge I need to maintain the café I and Mel owned and for twice or thrice a year I could work on projects on the internet and gave me extra earning that I could spend on my brother and parents.

These kids are definitely unluckier, they were probably born as an orphan, or simply was born poor. Maybe they had no choice but to work that way. Maybe it’s because our country couldn’t provide enough help for them even if they had tried their best.

But it doesn’t always mean that they will continue to work this way.

It’s possible that they’ve entered school and they did all these activities to help their parents to increase the earning of the family and made it adequate for them to continue their education. It’s possible that they wanted to be a better individual but they had no choice.

Traffic lights are not only the source of their food and life. In my point of view, they also mirror their lives as individuals.

The red color which is always on top reflects on how tough and hard their lives could be, and it’s what happens to them the most. The yellow and green reflects on how their lives for a short moment are slowly getting better. Green light in electronic devices most of the time indicates that something is all good, or something’s done. It shows how they could still smile in some of the moment that could make them to.

But as every of the traffic light does, it only gives a very limited time of green light for cars to drive across.

Two of the kids were just nearing to Mel’s car from the car queuing in front of us. One of them who sang a song I’ve never heard with a music equipment like everyone in the street had was a girl and the other who only clapped and tried his best to lip synced to the song seemed to be her younger brother.

Mel just ignored them and acted like she didn’t recognized their presence as she mumbled something about the car ahead of us not moving despite of the green light.

It took me good seconds before I finally reached a piece of bread we sell in our café that I brought in case I got really hungry during the traffic from the back of my seat and signaled Mel to roll down the window.

I gave it to the girl who received it with a rather bewildered facial expression before the cars ahead of us moved and we followed after.

Mel rolled her car’s window back before she turned to me and said,

“I don’t get it why you did that when they look perfectly healthy.”

I gave her a little smile before I answered,

“You don’t look sick when you’re hungry, Mel.”

Mel kept her silence through the trip back to our café after that.

I looked at the rear window and from afar I saw a pair of kids sitting on the pavement opened the lid of plastic wrapper with bread inside with a blurry smile that was visible from a distance.

I stopped looking when the traffic light turned red all over again and they got back to the street.