Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A homage to our lips

She was standing at the edge
A little unsure I could tell
The tips of her toes hung
Over the margin of the pavement
Curled as if clinging for dear life
A car rushed by then
So close it brushed her hemline
She didn’t jump back
Just stood at the edge
Her body immobile
Serene in the bustling metropolis
But only for a moment
The next instant delivered tension
Braced shoulders, a bitten lip
A lined forehead, clenched fists.
She turned a bit then
And magic followed suit
What caused it, a mystery
But: I smiled -with all my heart.
A foot retreated right on cue
Face brightening slightly
Shoulders mellowing
The corners of her lips rose
Forehead smooth
Fists unfolded
She nodded as if in thanks
And dissolved in the crowd.
I realized later:
I saved the day that day.
I know because she said so.
I met her shopping for birthday gifts
She silently picked out a thank you card
Extended the token in gratitude
Only then did she say:
“A smile equaled a step back
Anything else equaled a step forward.”
Only then did I realize
A smile equals an antidote
An encouragement
A sip of good wine
A favorite tune
A sweet memory
For her -a step back.
My smile matched
An obsolescence of the theory
That she was the sum of her predicaments
My smile sparked
Her refusal to be part of a tragedy,
The prevention of a young woman’s suicide,
A home without a mother
And a body without a spirit.
“So thank you.”
She was saying:
“You saved the day that day.”
By Tebogo H Ndlovu ( Zimbabwe )
Copyright © 2012 Tebogo Ndlovu
picture credits: