I watch, transfixed, as the water rises to its peak before making a graceful arc into the foamy shallow depths of bubbling, gurgling body of water.
I grow despondent as I continue to watch the Water Fountain routinely do its task; pristine water rising and forming descending arcs over and over again…
My chest tightens. I can’t explain what I feel.
I remember my family back home who can scarcely afford water to drink and provide food for themselves. However, here is a man using water to adorn his front yard.
The feeling gets stronger now and I recognize it as it rears its ugly head; contempt.
Does he realize he is being extravagant? I wonder, Or perhaps he does not feel that way because he can afford it. Still, what is the point of such adornment when visitors who come to your home will barely have the time to regard it? When he himself, will never use it?
Even more so, if he could adorn his front yard with water, it means he can provide money to construct a borehole for those who do not have access to clean water. Yet…
With this thought in mind, I then look at the cars parked in his courtyard; most of them are dusty. The cars have not been driven out since the day they were driven in.
If such a person can have such expensive vehicles dusty in his garage for months, then the person can afford to feed hundreds if not thousands of hungry people, with or without the help of contributions. Yet…
My stomach churns. I have not seen food to eat in days. Despite, I continue to focus on the Water Fountain.
Is this what wealth does to a man? Is it so potent that it blurs the line separating needs and wants? That it renders extravagance, minuscule?
Then again is it really his responsibility to take care of people? He worked for his money after all. I wonder again, is it not his responsibility to help others if he is in a great position to do so? What else makes you human if not your compassion; one that is unbiased, all-encompassing?
Even if he helps people, I must admit it is not possible to extend his benevolence to everyone. Nevertheless, starving poverty-stricken people such as I, will never be able to comprehend this unfortunate reality because all we are focused on are his duplex of a house he rarely visits, the dusty expensive cars he hardly ever drives and the water fountain that is always constantly running. All we see is a man who has all that he does not need, and probably forgets he has them until he is reminded. Though that may not be the case. Perhaps he is really a good man who has helped people as much as he can. Perhaps he is not like others who launder money and has amassed properties such as this. Perhaps he is really a working class man, who has earned what he deserves.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…
Despite trying to be rational, an ugly thought enters my head : as long as he hasn’t helped me, he hasn’t helped anybody…
I let the thought, even though I know I should not, play around my mind and evoke feelings I leave unhindered; anger, envy – even murder. I realize how ignorant the thought is, I admit it is but yet I cannot help it. I know it is foolish of me to place my problems on this heedless man. Nevertheless, it feels like the only way I can cope with my problems. In fact, it is the only way.
I look away from the house and force myself to walk away, before tiny seeds of evil plant themselves in my head, before my ignorance gets the better of me.
I think of my family I have to feed. Sometimes, I admit I have considered running away and leaving them so I can face my problems on my own; lesser men have done this. Sometimes I feel they are even the cause of my problems, like they are what an anchor is to a ship – It bears down the ship’s greatness rendering it immobile. I acknowledge hunger has played with my thoughts many a time. Most nights, when I am not able to find what my family will feast upon for the eve, I delay getting home with the hope that they are asleep before I arrive. I cannot bear to see the weary longing on their faces, only for me to disappoint them that they will have to sleep on empty stomachs. Again.
Deep down I know my thoughts, these thoughts which are of a hungry man, are not an exhibition of my illiteracy or even envy, but rather a reflection of my suffering. These are the only thoughts I can harbor, the only feelings I can feel…
This too shall pass.
But until then, I can’t forget the man with the Water Fountain in his courtyard.
Photo obtained from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17028712