The Girl In The Gutter

She was a small creature, no taller than a grown woman’s waist and with her limbs as thin and frail as bread sticks and her body almost nothing more than skin stretched over bone. Dressed in a grimy and filthy potato sack that’s supposed to pass for clothes, she walked on the hot pavement of the street on her bare feet. Her face, which might be beautiful if she were healthier, is skull-like with her eyes sunk deep in her bony face and her hair was tangled in greasy clumps. Barely a ghost among the bustling masses of people going to and fro, she pushed an old and rickety wooden cart filled with her find for the day: a dozen or so empty cans and bottles and a couple of wads of plastic bags.

street_childrenHer father had been a great hero. At least that’s what her mother often told her. Unfortunately, she was very young when her father died and she remembered very little about him. He died in a war far away from the city many years ago and it seemed only her mother ever really remembered him. No one in the city knew or cared about one man fighting and dying in a place that was far away after all. Of course, sometimes people talk about it, but no one really cared as long as the troubles never really affected them.

The girl’s mother too had died just less than two years ago when a great storm came howling into the city. Their ramshackle home of cheap plywood and metal sheets could do little against the winds that could uproot trees. Her mother had protected her by covering her with her own body but lost her life in the process. In the end, the little girl had no one left and was forced to fend for herself in a cruel and unforgiving city.

After a few hours of looking through various garbage cans and rubbish piles, she failed to find anything of value. While her cart was filled with various items, it probably wasn’t enough to buy her a snack, let alone a decent meal. She continued her search, hoping that there may still be enough refuse out there for her to pick through and at least allow her to buy a loaf of bread at least. Unfortunately, this wasn’t her lucky day. Apparently other people, the destitute and the homeless, had beaten her to it and there was very little left that she could make use of.

So on she went, her stomach rumbling. It’s been almost three weeks since she ate a full meal. Perhaps if she did more searching, she would find something, anything that could at least get her some food.

After a long while of searching, she soon found a church where a wedding was taking place. There was much merry-making and happiness around it and people she only heard about were there as well. There they danced and laughed. The tables were filled with food whose smell deeply intoxicated by the girl.

Before she could approach however, she was immediately stopped by a guard.

“This wedding is by invitation only,” said the guard. “And I doubt the couple would invite someone like you.”

The girl had no real intention of getting in, she tried to tell the guard. She was just wondering if she could have just a little bit of the food. Not much, but maybe just enough to fill a bag.

“This wedding was paid for by the families of the bride and groom and their sponsors,” said the guard. “And no, I don’t think you’re one of them.”

The girl pointed to a tall cake she could see in the distance at the table where the bride and groom sat. The girl reasoned with the guard that there was too much food at the party already, surely a plate or so wasn’t much.

“Out of the question!” said the guard and pushed her away. “The food you see here is for guests only!”

Her stomach continuing to rumble, the girl walked on, pushing her cart along.

She was passing near a market when a policeman suddenly grabbed her.

“There!” a woman shrieked. “She must be one of them!”

The girl asked what was going on.

“Stop playing innocent you thief!” the woman slapped her hard. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?”

“Are you sure, lady?” the policeman asked. “I don’t see this girl here very often. I doubt she was the one who snatched your necklace.”

“For all you know she could be one of their new recruits,” said the woman. “Besides, my husband knows your boss. He might have some things to say if you skip out on your ‘duty’.”

“Ma’am, if you want me to arrest this girl, I can’t do that,” the policeman shook his head.

Then the girl ran off, leaving her cart behind. While the policeman seemed nice, she knew that not all policemen were good  and that some would probably beat her and worse, so she ran as far and as fast as she could. Unfortunately, she failed to see an oncoming bus that was running in her direction.

A hard and sickening thud resounded when the bus impacted the girl’s frail body. There was the ever disturbing sound of wet cracking as the bus plowed her over. It was over in minutes.

The girl’s broken and bleeding body was quickly covered with newspapers as flies from the market began to hover around her. She was dead and gone and no one bothered to even remember her.

No one cared about the girl in the gutter. To everyone else, she was just an unlucky victim of circumstance. She had so much potential, but her life ended in one of the most worthless ways possible. Her glazed eyes stared into nothingness from her emaciated face. In the end, there was no one there for her. Not the cops, not the market-goers, the guests at the wedding or even her relatives.

In the end she died alone in the gutter…

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Post Author: Grimwald

I came that you may know PAIN and have it in abundance…

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21 Comments on "The Girl In The Gutter"

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Rapa Nui Kanarvacanan
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Rapa Nui Kanarvacanan

In Felipenas (that’s my spelling for even the blind can see where that name came from), we no longer care each other for we are prisoners. Juan (Spanish trademarked person) Tamad became one when he became and been loving his new foreign-made identity called Felipeno.

mowgli
Guest

what were these islands called before the spanish conquest and rebranding as the philippines? what is the true name of the philippines?

Ricardo_Diaz
Guest

The Philippines. One of the many failed states that dot the world. Each of them carrying their own tragic tales and equally depressing plight for their people.

Is it any wonder where the writers get their materials for fiction such as Warhammer 40k or even One Piece? (A reader once asked if people actually lived on garbage piles, to which Oda replied that there are, they are Filipinos living on Smokey Mountain)

Unfortunately, apathy is a learned trait. Something not exclusive to third-world countries. Look up Kitty Genovese.

JAMES GANG
Guest
I can’t believe U mention Kitty Genovese. In the mid 90’s I attended a 90 minute lecture at UCLA concerning her murder and societal indifference and lack of empathy to the plight of murder victims by eye-witness’s.Curiously enough in the early 2000’s I learned the entire story of Ms. Genovese murder from an old Man that lived across the street from where and when Ms.Genovese murder actually took place(in the narrow alley facing Mowbray Dr./82nd Rd., NOT the courtyard that faces the LIRR train station on Austin St.). THAT case is generally considered by Western Psychology a defining moment in… Read more »
mowgli
Guest

so what happened to the bus driver who ran the girl over? i want to hear what the consequences for him were. did he even notice he ran over somebody? did he stop? did he go to jail?

Volt
Guest

She is finally free.

Sick Amore
Guest
It’s like this. It’s not like you don’t want to help. Everybody is capable of helping other people. But there’s this kind of need that needed ones help throughout. Like in the case of a street child, giving her a meal can never be enough. It would help her live for a day but it will still keep her that way, it’s like prolonging her agony. That’s why we have Anti-Mendicancy Program and we have DSWD whose job is dedicated to saving these kids. We also have NGOs dedicated for such cause because not only do these kids need food… Read more »
Sick Amore
Guest

Believe me, some of these children have parents while some if you tried to take them to DSWD will run away (some children would escape from DSWD, others pinabayaang umalis ng nasabing ahensya otherwise you won’t find them again in the street just a few days after you turn them in). The effective way to get these kids out of the mess would be to work side by side with NGOs or LGU and, yes, DSWD.

Gustav
Guest

For those kids who run away, I think a corrective institute or more secure juvenile center (kid jail) should happen. Short of euthanizing them, you really have to make a complete makeover of their behaviour to undo the damage done from their lack of upbringing. It’s tough, but it can be done.

All these require money which we already know the government is unwilling to spend.

Sick Amore
Guest
That’s what’s funny about the Philippine laws. Like, here you have paid lawmakers creating or amending laws, say, for juvenile delinquents where 16-18 year-olds should go to youth detention homes while those 15 and below should go to youth orphan care (and there should be one for every city) but the government don’t have full plans on establishing needed facilities and workers indicated in those laws. Yet they would set aside a certain amount from the BUDGET for the program. And those who authorized those laws think problema na ng mga institusyon na dapat magpapatupad n’yan mayroon na ulet akong… Read more »
John
Guest
Damnit Grimwald……. I didn’t need to cry….. Sadly, his story, while fiction, is a good reflection of life and what happens to many children there I imagine…. some grow up..like the Horribly disfigured transgender who does her little dance in Malate for coins.Her legs are burned off at the knees..I had to stop and talk to her .It was just before Christmas a few years back. I asked her point bLank what happened to her ..she told me a candle had fallen into her crib when she was a baby and her legs had caught fire as the crib burned….… Read more »
Hyden076Toro
Guest

It is a sad story; but that is happening in Real Life in the Philippines. The Gap between the Rich and the Poor is widening and widening everyday. Poverty, homelessness, and hunger are widespread.

There is nothing that Politicians are doing to address this issue of poverty, homelessness and hunger…Politicians continue to blame each other; play political games…

People who are homeless and hungry are invisible to their eyes. The Political leaders refuse to see these people…

jameboy
Guest
The piece is a classic fodder for soaps and telenovelas. Exactly what the masses needed to see for a feel good effect. Over and over again. And I don’t mean the D or E masses but the F or G one (if such existed). Allegory it is indeed and more but I still rank it below the usual tearjerkers we get daily in our boob tubes. For one, the settings is convoluted. I could be wrong but a church wedding with tables filled with food? Could be a millionaire renting the church for the day. If so, I doubt the… Read more »
d_forsaken
Guest

In the Failippines, it’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares any more; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.