Indifference

The brightness of the summer sun reveals the dirt and grime of a city that has been neglected throughout the winter and will continue to be neglected till next winter. Urban residents bustle about their business, stepping over plastic bags and cigarette butts without a thought. A shaded bench among a cluster of bright trees and bushes goes unnoticed. A homeless woman sits in a nook provided by an artistic detail on a building. She is looking rather scruffy as the sun exposes the dirt clinging to her clothing. Crowds walk by her in their clean upper middle class attire, designer jeans, shiny sunglasses.

No one gives the woman so much as a smile, a sorely needed dollar or two. Children cringe as they walk by her. The sidewalk is hard, and still wet from late night rain, but where else is there for her to sit? A young woman is sobbing on her cell phone. She paces the sidewalk as a soft summer breeze shifts her pastel, floral printed sundress and blows through her long blond hair. No one stops to wonder whether someone has died or if she has just been dumped. Young women cry easily, don’t they? Or at least, the ones with blond hair and sundresses do.

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A girl walks down the street daydreaming. One day she will be a famous actress, singer, director or all three. Right now, she is one of the middle class sheep, following the crowd past litter and homelessness and grief, noticing only a little more than most. The crowd doesn’t notice her at the moment, but one day they will swarm around her begging for autographs and souvenirs as though she were a goddess. At the moment she is despairing and yearning to be noticed. And yet, when she is, she will not enjoy the extravagant attention of the press.

She’ll wish for the anonymity that she had before. It was her art that she wanted people to see, not her private life. And if they must bother her, could they not do so for who she really is rather than for the fame and reputation she had acquired? The media people ought to have better things to do than stalking her, shouldn’t they? This is a very edited version of a school assignment I had a while ago. The idea of writing a “creative essay” about an abstract concept was not mine. I’m kind of surprised that it didn’t turn out sounding more like a school essay than it does.

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