I went shopping today.
I wasn’t planning to buy a lot – just some basic make up and some underwear. But I ended up coming home with some make up stuff, a new underwear and this beautiful deep grey bag from Charles and Keith.
The bag came with an even bigger shopping bag and it looked like I spent a lot of money. So I knew it was time to go home. When I walked out of the shopping centre, it was pouring pretty hard outside.
I needn’t have to worry much because there were some umbrella kids already hovering about, waiting for people to call them and rent their umbrellas. These kids will follow the people renting their umbrellas, but they never charge a specific amount of money; most of them will always say, “It’s up to you, Sir / Ma’am. Whatever much you want to pay me.”
My eyes searched for the most meek-looking kid and I saw this stick-thin boy, I reckoned he was about fourteen or fifteen. I caught his eyes and I motioned for him to approach me. Immediately he came over and put his umbrella over me.
I took it immediately and started walking home; the kid following quietly behind me.
The awkward silence between me and him were starting to feel uncomfortable, so I tried to make a little chit-chat with him. I found out he was sixteen and he went to senior high school. I asked what his favorite subject was, but he mumbled something I couldn’t understand. The kid was awfully shy so I didn’t think I should elicit more answers from him.
The rest of the walk was silent while the rain continued to pour down hard.
All of a sudden, I felt sad.
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t fair that I had so much money to spend and buy a new bag when I had so many bags already.
It wasn’t fair that I needed new make up when I still had some at home, while this kid could probably think of a million things he could do with the money I’d spent.
It wasn’t fair that I get to be home safe and dry, while this kid was drenched in rain water and might perhaps get sick. He was very thin after all.
As soon as we reached the front of my house, I gave him ten thousand rupiah, and he seemed mildly shocked but he didn’t say anything except thanking me and left.
But I know that the amount of money I’d given him still wouldn’t do any justice to how things are in for this kid, for me, for everyone in this world.