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The Child Hawker – Laura Oreva

It’s a traffic jam. Drivers are cussing, horns are blaring and passengers are restless.
A scrawny arm pushes a bottle of something into the car, followed by a hoarse, raspy voice saying in broken English “Aunty buy liquid soap, no cost.”
I’m wearing a skirt, tights and a thick cardigan, but I still feel the bite of the cold wind.

The child comes into view, and I notice he can’t be more than eight. He’s wearing trousers and just a cotton shirt with some of the buttons missing.
His plight gets to even the driver, who stops his cussing long enough to mumble something about uncaring parents.
The other passengers buy the two remaining soap in his basket and tell him to keep the change. The driver again mutters about how his parents would collect the extra money, but still I press some change and an uneaten snack into his small cold hands.

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The cars start to move, he runs alongside our car thanking us like we just gave him the whole world, till he can no longer keep up.
I turn around one last time just before the car leaves him behind, and our eyes lock. I’m rattled to the bone by what I see. I feel like I’m staring into the eyes of one so old, one who has seen all the good and bad life has to offer. So unlike the innocent look in the eyes of my niece.

I’m forced to come to the realisation, that I’m staring into the eyes of one who was forced to grow out of his childhood, at a pace he never even understood.

Laura Oreva is presently studying Pharmacy. She loves reading and listening to music. Laura can be reached on Facebook – Laura Oreva or by email –


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