A Penniless Afternoon

A Penniless Afternoon

A Story by Rosa Carlyle-Mitchell

Our world is bound by juxtaposition.


The orb sets late these days. That was why we went with the falling sun. We perused the labyrinth city trying to find Skyways, the apartment that Anya was looking at for next year.

“She said it’s written massively on the side of the building”, Anya pondered aloud. We had taken another step when she intuitively swivelled around and pointed out the SKYWAYS that was printed on a building we’d just passed. How we missed that eludes me. A woman on her cell phone was just entering the building as we arrived at the gate; I slid my hand in the gap timeously.

We passed a couple of children playing in the interior parking lot. They were of different ages, strung together by the confines of poverty. Skyways was sombre, rusty; that elevator wasn’t going up in the world.

“Not a f**k”, muttered Anya, as we scoured the buildings for one called Shannon. We got into the elevator, pressed 3, and reeled up. This was now a pointless activity.

Mattheo answered the door. He had dingy Spanish accent; one to match the apartment. Two other men were inside, sitting awkwardly on some stools at the kitchen counter. We looked around out of courtesy, absorbing nothing on purpose for fear of its venom.

“Thank you!” we both managed, as we headed out of the door and passed the children with wide, probing eyes.

On our way back we turned up a street. Anya gasped as we did so, waving her hands in the direction of a fence.

“That guy’s getting beaten up!”

Someone had just jumped the fence to escape getting his head kicked in by another. They were shouting at each other, hatred permeating their rippling cries. I shivered, and we carried on walking. 

Nothing to be done on our side of the fence: a fatal supposition.

A couple of metres ahead, the sound of music reached us. It was live music. We wandered further up the road to find a party taking place in an alleyway to our right. From where we stood, we could see the backs of the musicians, and assumed that the entrance was on the other side. At that moment, a woman with blooming curly hair walked passed us.

“It’s okay, you can come in from here.”

We followed her in.

The contrast was bewildering. The malicious feud metres back had only stalled our entrance to a free party. There was pizza, beer and an eclectic crowd. The young singer’s voice was something to behold.

Perhaps they were fighting about food? Or unhappiness? Or love?

How is it that some can wear clothes that look like they’ve been ripped off a homeless person with a social elegance that admits them to this exclusive, yet ostensibly ‘open’ party.

Me and Anya stood watching it all, confused by all that we’d encountered, sipping on free coke. 

© 2012 Rosa Carlyle-Mitchell

Author's Note

Rosa Carlyle-Mitchell
Some of you might be acquainted with these kind of strange, wonderful, terrible encounters.

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Added on December 5, 2012
Last Updated on December 5, 2012
Tags: free, experience, timing


Rosa Carlyle-Mitchell
Rosa Carlyle-Mitchell

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I write because it's the right means. For me. I've got plenty in me for 20. more..