Dignity by Mark Ulyseas
Excerpt from Rainy – My Friend & Philosopher Link
Ulyseas has served time in advertising as copywriter and creative director selling people things they didn’t need, a ghost writer for some years, columnist of a newspaper, a freelance journalist and photographer. In 2009 he created Live Encounters Magazine, in Bali, Indonesia. It is a not for profit (adfree) free online magazine featuring leading academics, writers, poets, activists of all hues etc. from around the world. March 2016 saw the launch of its sister publication Live Encounters Poetry, which was relaunched as Live Encounters Poetry & Writing in March 2017 He is the author of three books: RAINY – My friend & Philosopher, Seductive Avatars of Maya – Anthology of Dystopian Lives and In Gethsemane: Transcripts of a Journey. www.amazon.com
“Gladys and the vet are coming today at 3, please be in…your shots are due”, I call out to Rainy from the kitchen.
“No grrr…mate, you better be here or I will stop all food. Get it?”
“Grr…I hate that chap…he digs the needle into me but Gladys I like”.
“Gladys? Are we talking about the same woman…she is always in full throttle”.
“Don’t be rude. If only you knew her…”
“So tell me…”
“When I was very young, maybe two months old, my brother, sister and I used to live in a parking lot where we were born. Mom would leave us under an abandoned car while she went to forage for food. One day we crawled out from under the car and were lying in the warm sun when we saw some children on cycles racing towards us and shouting. We thought they wanted to play so we began running towards them. The first cyclist ran over my brother. His guts were all over the place. My sister had no chance for the second cyclist deliberately lowered his leg and kicked her. Then they turned around and came for me. I ran for cover back to the abandoned car. I heard them laugh and shout, “He’s there…get some stones”. I was so scared…I began to piddle…I shouted but my tiny voice was drowned out by the sound of stones striking the car. Suddenly everything went silent. A woman had arrived on the scene and chased the children away. She bent down, pulled me out and held me to her bosom and then gently wrapped me in her scarf that smelled so sweet. I was trembling.
Just then my mother appeared on the scene and began sniffing the lifeless bodies of my brother and sister. The wail she let out reverberated in the parking lot. The woman patted her and said, “Mummy don’t grief, you still have a son left…I shall look after you and him”.
Her name was Gladys.
So we went to stay with her for a few months till I grew bigger and could fend for myself. One day mom and I returned home to see Gladys sitting on her bed with bruises on her face. Mama began licking her hand. Tears swelled in her eyes as she looked down at us. In spite of all her bruises she held herself with great dignity.
“Mama you and your son have to leave for Jimmy is returning tonight and he will kill you both if you found you in the house, he hates dogs, I am sorry…” said Gladys in a choked voice, “I am truly sorry”.
Jimmy was the drug addict son who would often beat his mother when she refused to give him money for his habit.
“Please wait for me near the gate, I’ll join you in a minute”, said mother to me in a firm voice.
A short while later she joined me and off we went into the darkness. That night as we sat near a roadside food stall waiting for handouts Mama turned to me and said, “After we get some food let us go back to Gladys”.
Later that night we returned only to be greeted by the sight of a police car and Jimmy in handcuffs. We ran inside fearing the worst…lounging on a sofa was a composed Gladys with a cuppa tea in her hand, chatting with a police officer…we were relieved.
“Come in my darlings…” she said.
Mama and I were so happy!
“So what did your mother tell Gladys and where is Jimmy now?” I ask.
“Discipline, that’s what mama told her. And as for Jimmy, he is still in rehab, lost case. Apparently his father, who also beat Gladys, died of an overdose. But she is very happy now with her brand new boyfriend. What a lady…in spite of all the beatings and the rancid local gossip she carries herself with dignity. The people here are so messed up for all they do is feed on the filth and dirt of others but we, we can see the beauty in her….her love for us. You can never fool us for we can see your aura and sense your intentions,” replied Rainy sombrely.
It is nearing midnight as I sit in the verandah sucking on an Upmann cigar and regurgitating the day’s events. Rainy is right, maybe we humans have disconnected from the natural rhythms of life and have barricaded ourselves in the lexicon for we appear obsessed with the negativity of life rather than the world of inner beauty. And in doing so, many among us have lost our dignity.
© Mark Ulyseas