Hope in being a street beggar.
Gift stands at a traffic light, his hands raised to his face in frustration. The cold wind whips past him as he zig zags through traffic. His back is bent, hands gripping an empty garbage bag. At each car he stops with lowered eyes, and at each car he is greeted with a frown and dismissive shake of the head.
He wants only a few rands. Enough to buy his family of four some food. Maybe some clothes. But his hands remain empty. He feels invisible, he says.
But Gift isn’t invisible. Someone notices his stooped back and dry, callused hands. A Porsche comes to a halt at the red light, the driver fiddles out a coin and drops it in Gift’s outstretched palm. Suddenly, his posture changes, his eyes light up, his mouth curls at the corners.
He continues to meander through the waiting cars. But this time he feels different. There’s a bounce in his step, his hands wave with enthusiasm, his back is more upright. Car after car, he manages to pocket a coin, sometimes two. While it takes most of his day, he walks home with just enough to provide his waiting family with a meal. And tomorrow he’ll return with the hope that he can do it all over again.