Throwing pebbles by the roadside, dragging his worn little leather shoes in the dust, the child, no more than 3 stands there alone, playing in the dirt and grime. There is a prominent cut above his right eyebrow, like he’s been hit, so you care. You care enough that you put down your things by the side of the rain drain and sit down to keep him company. He is the neighborhood’s little boy. Not entirely sure who his family is but still you care, care enough to while away a few hours with him. Showing him how to play five stones and hop-scotch. His infectious laughter makes you forget that he’s hurt. That he could be in a violent situation. His beaming soul blinding you, fuzzing out the pain and the worries. Almost making you believe in a bright and sterling future. You walk together to the corner shop for juice boxes and potato chips. He tells you about his grandmother who makes the yummiest meals. You think maybe he at least is being fed and clothed. But still you care, care that there is that precarious cut above his right eyebrow and conspicuous bruised on his upper arms. He asks you to race him back to where you were playing before, and you do, despite your uncomfortable formal work shoes. You heave and sigh from being so out of shape and he laughs his mirthful laughter. “But you’re not fat,” he says, amazed at your inability to run. You laugh and you care that you are making him laugh. You think maybe you could take care of him.
Lights dim down, and the darkness of nightfall threatens to end your time with this beautiful soul. He realizes it as he shudders closer into your lap when you sit down to tell him the one local folktale you remember in full. You care so you kiss him right above the little cut above his right eyebrow. Then comes his mothers call. A little angry, a little scary. You wonder if its because you think he is being abused or if she really did sound that furious.
He jumps out of your lap. Looks at you and smiles. You hold his little hands in yours and tell him to take care. Another bellow and hes gone. You watch his tiny figure disappearing into the subtle darkness. You stand there and keep watching because you care. Helpless but you care. Unsure but you care. So I care, but cannot do anything about it. So what if I really care?