Under grey skies and a gentle drizzle, a tired township hassled through life. Clothed in colors once vibrant and alive, now mellow, faded and often threadbare. The din of human voices filled the wet air: the young, the old and frequently discernible, the obscene slur. The persistent honk of stranded cars joined the distasteful cacophony, the passengers peering out at their tumultuous world, from within their humid, sweaty cocoons.
Indifferent to the bustle around it, unnoticed but by a single pair of eyes, a lone blue rubber slipper swam by. It floated in the murky brown sea of rainwater, bobbing this way and that.
Quite often, a naked pair of legs, shin-deep in the water would slosh across, cutting through the flow of the water and momentarily interrupting the lone blue slipper on its steady journey to the land of washed-along things.
Those legs, those wet itchy legs, they didn’t attempt to jump across anymore. The rivers of rainwater have become too wide, the puddles too common, and a good game of Hurdles requires the luxury of time. So, the owners’ of those legs, those wet itchy legs, they gathered their clothing about their knees, as far away from the wet as they possibly could and slosh-sloshed their way: polka dotted pants; bulky boubous; wrung out wrappers and the occasional “chaaya narr”.
Somewhere close or somewhere far, somebody was newly missing a shoe. Perhaps they’re cosy and dry, sipping a warm drink and looking out at the drizzle. Perhaps they’re still caught in the damp, itchy chaos, longing for warmth but working for food.
Perhaps the owner had already stopped thinking of their missing slipper, perhaps they’re chuckling in remembrance of the moment the slipper slid from their foot into the water, or the moment it got caught in the mud, pulling free.
It could be too, that the owner’s brows are knitted in thought. Perhaps, the loss of a slipper, which is so insignificant to you and I, is causing them to worry. Perhaps they are calculating, subtracting the price of a new pair of slippers from their meagre earnings, cursing the rains, cursing the mud, cursing the drainage system and the cobbled roads which do not exist, for their non-existence.
The floating slipper in all its simplicity, represents the greatest mystery of existence, the great oblivion of which are so terrified, the questions that continue to shape the face of the world.
Where did you come from, what lies on your path, where will your journey end?