He stood by his small toy stand, blowing bubbles into one of the toys. Strangers walked past him completely oblivious. Every now and then, a child would point at him, only to be dragged away by a parent. He was twenty-five, an engineering graduate, and one of many who found themselves working small jobs to make a living. He was in love once, but he only had his heart to offer, and lovers weren’t welcomed in his world. Soon, she was married off to their established neighbor.
He sat on the sofa, hunched back, skin tanned from working under the sun for hours, and fuddled with his coarse, dry hands. His light green eyes were distant; he must have been handsome at some point. Life has been unkind to him, but for all her harshness, she couldn’t touch his eyes. They were his subtle sign of defiance. A cap was perched lightly on his head, grey-black hairs escaping from under it. He can’t remember the time before he left his homeland to work abroad. But he remembers his children. He hasn’t seen them in ten years.
He grinned toothlessly at passersby as they dropped coins in his hand. He counted them, occasionally tugging at his navy blue beanie with a wrinkled hand. He had owned a similar beanie years ago, back when youth still danced with him and anything seemed possible. His mother had made it for him. He would sit huddled at her feet and watch her as she knitted. Decades later, he sat huddled under a lamp post with his hand stretched to strangers.