The Sandwich Shrine
by Aubrey Graze Pareja
It's another day at this park. I was watching this guy. He was sitting on a bench, eating his sandwich. That sandwich looks divine. I haven't eaten for ages. Wait-- maybe I was imagining this guy and his sandwich. See, I am that hungry... I think I'm delirious.
I was sitting at the foot of a balete tree and people walk past me without looking left or right, or at me, for that matter. As if they don't see me. Okay, maybe I haven't gotten up from this tree since I sat here last God-knows-when (I haven't eaten for about the same length of time, too. Park goers here aren't that charitable. Boo), but as far as I know I haven't blended in with this tree.Yet.
And like the rest of the people here, he was also determinedly not looking at me. Was it that obvious I wanted a piece of his sandwich? The things people do to hold onto to their sandwiches. But I'm not judgmental so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, he really doesn't see me, not even if I was directly in his line of vision. Maybe I do blend with this tree.
Halfway through his sandwich he stopped eating, wrapped the rest of the sandwich in its paper wrapper, and walked towards me. Hah! My hard stare has finally gotten through him. Or maybe I really look like I'm about to pass out and he doesn't want that on his conscience. At least he got one, unlike these people here.
He knelt when he reached my tree and placed his sandwich at the foot of the tree. Gah. Is it that difficult to hand it to me? Never mind, food is food even if the giver's rude. Wow, I am so hungry I rhyme.
He stayed kneeling for quite a while. His eyes were closed and his lips were moving. I was watching him, mystified, but the rest of the park goers just glanced at him, and then looked away. I caught the words, "...wasn't... fault" from the whispers but I really have no idea what's going on.
I decided he had already prayed hard enough for that half-a-sandwich. If he won't hand it to me, I'll get it myself.
But then he stood up, looked at the tree without really seeing it (I hope you know how that looks. I sure know how it looks like, I get that all the time.) To be polite, I held out my hand to shake his but he just stood there, his hands at his side. This man is truly, very, insufferably rude. I reached out to grab his hand but...
My hand went through! You know that feeling when your hand goes through thin air? That. I felt nothing, just that my arm is at one side of his hand, and my hand is at the other side. That. I was shocked I can't even describe properly what just happened. Gosh. I withdrew my hand, looked at it. I looked around, but nobody seemed to notice.
The man walked away. I was still in shock I couldn't move (well part of it was maybe because I was starving). He was about four feet away when I stood up, wobbling. And then I ran after him. I don't know how I could have run that fast, but I slammed into his back, and then woooosh! It was like walking past an electric fan. This time I felt a little something, but like my hand, I went through him. He must have felt something, because he stopped, looked around, shrugged his shoulders and walked on.
I stood there stunned, until I felt acid bubbling in my poor stomach. I remembered half of the sandwich and I quickly (as I could) went back to my tree. Somebody might get my sandwich before me.
There was an elderly lady and a young woman sitting at the bench when I passed by. She was telling the young lady, "Hypocrites! Praying and leaving food. As if the starved kid could still enjoy that pile of half eaten sandwiches!" To which the young lady answered dismissively, "Well, people need to rid of their guilt.."
I looked but all I can see is one sandwich that that rude guy left there. My sandwich.
Aubrey Graze Pareja also writes poems and draw pictures which she sometimes post at: http://tuwatula.blogspot.com
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'The Trees Breathe'