It was precisely six thirty on a dusky Friday evening.
Children briskly ran, hand in hand, across streets to meet welcoming parents and the sun shone brightly, although lightly drizzled between clouds. I slumped back into the comfort of my new suede shoes, while my hands curiously fell into the pockets of my grey, pin-striped suit.The evening felt stale, and the slight breeze stank of my new cologne and puberty enhanced adrenalin.
I wandered down Harvisham Avenue.
People that walked down this road,or lived here, were poor. Little kids that scuttled like mice into the arms of their begging families, undoubtedly living of benefits. Drunkards who crammed up the spaces on concrete to bellow,"spare change sir?". Me? Well, I used to belong here. My father worked for the local chippy that turned bankrupt as soon as a white family set up a "nicer" pie shop...next door. It was pretty predictable at the time, us colored people didn't get jack... but that's all different now. I was better off than the rest of my family, as I had chosen to move out at eighteen and get a job at the nearest paper press. Slowly, I moved up the ranks, until I was flourishing at the very top of the business. Reaching the title of CEO, I branched out, expanded the market and at the age of twenty five, I became popular in the area of business. But that doesn't mean I was smart, I made mistakes that I regret, like this very day when I was walking down Harvisham Avenue, my gaze was caught on a small girl, leaning on a window ledge. She looked terrible. Her face was covered in bruises, scratches and a recent looking scar that was carved into her right cheek. The only major reason for concern was the mixture of distressed emotions that seemed to dance in front of her eyes.
"Hello? Are you okay?!" I called, immediately regretting the words that poured out of my mouth.
The girl locked eyes with mine and we exchanged looks of apprehension, "No sir... I'm not... I think my ankle may be broken." She called, her ankle emitting so much pain that she had to stumble over every word she spoke, in between ragged gasps for air.
"It's going to be okay, look... where's your Mummy?" I spoke, casually drawing nearer to the drive way of the distressed girl's house.
"I'm not sure... I think she may have left to go out to drink... you better go... she'll be back soon." The girl stuttered, her eyes darted across the street, panic stricken in case of the approach of the monster she so called "Mummy". Suddenly, I felt bewildered. An immense wave of fatigue drifted upon me, but I was determined to help this child in dire need of help. My help. "How bad is your foot, can you walk on it?" I questioned, hungry for information. "No...I tried...but... I can't...I can't do it." she muttered, waves of tears now flowing from her delicate eyes, dusting her frail, bruised cheeks. Realizing she was going to pass out, I opened my arms,my hands shaking. "Here, jump towards me, I'll catch you...I can help you, I promise." I spoke softly and persuasively, trying to get a little girl to jump out of a window... the craziest thing I've done yet.
"Oi, Useless! What do you think you're doing!?" A screech echoed from further down the road, tearing holes in my ear drums... her mother.
The girl glanced in the direction of her mother drawing a staggered breath of thin air... she jumped. She swung her feet forward and tumbled out of the window, her bloodied ankle pulling her down. Heavily, the girl landed in my arms and I carefully pushed her onto my back, weary of her bad ankle.
And then we ran.
Without looking back, I legged it down the road with a mound of hair cradled in my arms. Despite taking a child from her mother, I felt that it was the right thing to do. What would've happened if I'd waited longer was unthinkable. She needed me, and I...needed her.
"Thank you mister." she mumbled gingerly.