by V.D. Tamien
Would you buy rice cakes from an old lady?
The old woman was carrying her two baskets, inside are home-made rice cakes, ready for sale. She was wearing a white skirt, stained by muddy water, and a checkered apricot long sleeves that served as her protection for the rainy season.
She was as cheerful as a child, smiling at every person whom she hoped would be helping her earn a living. Her smile was no ordinary smile - it was a smile that she managed to crack on her aged face despite the cruel life given to her.
Her eyes were crossed, probably brought by fatigue she's been suffering from.
"Would you like to buy rice cakes?" Her voice was puny, as though exhausted from the long road she's been tackling since dawn.
The boy sitting on the chair made of rattan looked at her with much empathy. He noticed the smile she cracked - and all those teeth she missed.
"How much would one bunch cost?" The boy was eager to buy; to at least help the old lady with that pure, honest smile.
"200 for two bunches," the lady replied, getting another bunch to show to the boy. They're too expensive, the boy thought. In as much as he loved to buy them to help her, he didn't seem to see a fair exchange.
"It's my birthday today," she continued. "You will give me a wonderful birthday gift when you buy these." Her character was extraordinary, the boy thought. But again, the pricing seemed to be a bit unfair to the boy.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I wouldn't be able to buy them. Sorry." There was much regret on the boy's voice, and he didn't want to disappoint the poor old lady.
"Would you like to try one? You'd like how they taste. They're made of pure ingredients." She was again exposing her toothless mouth to the boy, smiling honestly.
"I'm really sorry. I'll have to say no," the boy replied with much regret and sadness in his heart.
The old lady sadly returned her rice cakes in her basket, and once again absorbed the disappointing feeling of being rejected by people who are much more fortunate than she is. She hoped so much that the boy would buy from her, but he was yet another disappointment.
"I'm really sorry," the boy reiterated.
After readying her baskets, she slowly grabbed them, walked again with her puny, aged legs... and again tried her unluckiest luck with the other people around the area, smiling.