This is a response to the prompt from What Pegman Saw, which uses Google Maps to provide inspiration for 150-word pieces. This is mine, and the prompt was Cusco, Peru. I remembered an acquaintance in college went on a mission trip to Cusco, and I seem to remember her reaction to the poverty she saw there. I tried to convey some of that impression here. If you click through on the link, you will see the setting for my story in 360 view. Thank you for the prompt and thank you for reading! And enjoy your holiday weekend if you celebrate such things!
A Sunday afternoon stroll through the old church plaza was tradition.
The block-long staircase swarmed with picnickers. Little children scuttled across the steps, soiling their Sunday best.
Pavement encircled the lawn opposite, vast and green. Lovers strolled, with elbows linked, along it.
Cobblestones ran, in pleasing patterns, every which way.
Their tenement lay only blocks away, but Maria and Edwin felt like strangers.
Still, they considered themselves lucky.
At the edge of town, ramshackle boxes of cardboard and tin quivered by open sewers. Those souls who could not rub two coins together: warehoused in misery. Missionaries visited, but for what? Their best efforts: a drop in the bucket.
At the edge of the promenade, heads bowed, arms outstretched, Maria and Edwin crouched. Their sign: “Remember the Poor.”
A couple sashayed by, all heels and Sunday dress.
Metal clinked in their jar. Once. Then, again.
Eyes down, Edwin crossed himself. Lucky.