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.
So true of so many nations, Andrea. Where the poor rub shoulders with the well off, sleeping or driven to beg right under their noses. You describe the scene so clearly, so sadly too. Lovely writing
Thank you Lynn!
Lovely language. Especially enjoyed the contrast of the poverty and the serene setting, and the way the “drop in the bucket” goes from figurative to literal when it’s echoed in the last scene.
Good eye Karen! By the end of the story, they officially have two coins to rub together!
Thank you orangutan! With all the reading that you do, your good opinion means a great deal to me!
So good, Andrea. I could picture it all.
J Hardy Carroll
Excellent story and a wonderful reminder to count our blessings. I like the rhythm of this piece.