Sitting at the foot of the refuse dump was a little boy that looked a lot like he had been cobbled together from what was left after God had finished creating humanity. He was starving. Ribs, prominent like a suit of armor. The hunger biting hard in his little belly, he tried his best to stand up. He couldn’t.
There just wasn’t any strength.
So he lay back on that pile of refuse and waited patiently for death to come. For the past three days, not a morsel of food had passed his lips. Abandoned by his mother at the age of two and kicked out by his relatives because he was a bastard who didn’t know his father, Oyinlola was an orphan, alone and truly forgotten in the world.
Remembering how he had struggled with the other urchins and failed, failed to get a bite of the mouldy agege bread that would otherwise had been his sustenance for the day, Oyinlola began to sob.
Hot, bitter tears trickled down his chin. Uncaring, they fell to the ground. Oyin had scrounged the rest of the refuse dump. There was nothing to eat. Nothing at all.
Not even week old overripe fruits rotten and discarded. Hours passed without anyone helping. People passed by him. It was a busy expressway and there was money to earn, people to meet, no time to spare. Not even for a poor abandoned five year old boy.
A mother dressed in the latest fashion held on tight to her plump little daughter as they walked down the street. Having just picked up her child from a prestigious private school she wanted to drop the child off at home with the nanny before returning to her company where she competed with a lot of other fashion designers to make as much money as they could.
She tried to hail a cab. Her daughter saw Oyinlola and pointed him out to mummy. When mummy did not answer, she tried to open her food flask. She had a bit of rice left over from school, and a little plantain too. She didn’t want it, she wasn’t hungry And besides mummy would throw it away when they got home. Why not give it to him? She thought. He needs it more than me.
When her mum noticed what was happening, she pulled her daughter’s ear and reprimanded her for her actions. Her daughter began to cry. Muttering about urchins and how it was not her daughter’s fault, but for the stupid car that broke down they wouldn’t even be here, trying to get a cab, her mother completely ignored the daughter’s tears and futile efforts still to open her food flask with her one free hand. Oyin simply looked on. He had no strength even to stand up and beg. Or assist in obtaining an easy meal.
A cab stopped and they got in, mother and daughter, and after telling the driver her destination, they zoomed off.
Later that night, Oyinlola, a starved, downtrodden, lonely, desolate orphan, died.
No one mourned him. No one remembered him. Not the mother who brought him to this world, not his father who didn’t care that he existed and most definitely not the world of which he was a part for a brief, quick period.
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