Cape Town, I am not a bad person

I am not a bad person

While my wife is shopping  in Johannesburg  I decide to walk down the street to see if i can find a coffee. It’s called distraction therapy. In my peripheral vision I see an in coming beggar. Like all discerning white men i take evasive action and do a 180, too late in coming beggar engages me. Not to worry training seems to kick in, course of action is to ignore and look aloof keep walking and repeat silently “she does not exist” , dam it she is persistent. Not far to the shop were wife is engaged in therapeutic therapy, just a few more steps. Beggar unusually persistent right to the door she is saying something, she is making me feel uncomfortable, before the shop and safety dame it she touches me, I am not prepared for this physical contact this is not part of the training. I turn and acknowledge her, I even act surprised, she is better at this game than I. All my training is failed i am faced with a young black woman and her stink. Somewhere beyond the smell l is a request. It is the smell of her i have to overcome before hearing the request.” I want food”, is all I hear.  We enter into some sort of bargaining she wants me to take her to the supermarket to get something. That sounds dangerous i presume i walk round the corner and a gang will attack me. The street security people look on and they are willing to get rid of her, other’s  smile at me they know all my training failed and i am compromised by her persistence  her story and her stink. I am willing to take her to the fried chicken shop i see it as a compromise, but it is then she pulls of her coupe, she takes from her neck a pretty scarf. The beauty of the scarf hides a large ugly growth  and when i say large i mean large. Her mouth moves above the growth which she tells me is cancerous, she also tells me she wants cornflakes and milk from the supermarket as she finds it difficult to swallow. This poorly trained man carrying his principles and fear so well is unwilling to go as far as the supermarket. The one who carries the beautiful scarf that hides the growth that is as visually ugly that equals her stink. She tells me before i agree to buy the fried chicken “i am not a bad person”. No i believe she is not a bad person but she is black, poor, living in South Africa and sick and i am not. I push to the front of the queue and hand over as quickly as possible the amount of money that would buy me a semi descent newspaper at home. I point to the lady in need.  I exit as quick as possible back to the security of the shop and my wife. I am 20 rand light and heavy with my principles. “I am not a bad person”.A


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