Not just fancy legs!

Old man in shorts and vest

“Doesn’t he love showing off his fancy legs!” I said loudly at the park last January. Loud enough for my companions to hear and they sniggered as the bald man in a T- shirt and shorts walked by at his incredible speed.

The weather last January had been cold with temperatures touching 8 degrees and we all walked our morning rounds in our tracksuits and woolens dragged out from boxes, generally opened only when going abroad.

It was a little later in the day I drove into the traffic jam.

“I thought this is a free road!” I grumbled a little impatiently.

“It’s Saturday sir!” said my driver.

“So?” I asked wondering what the day of the week had to do with me being stuck in traffic.

“Saturday Bazaar sir!”

“Oh!” I said, and realized it wasn’t vehicles creating the chaos but hundreds of poor people, all walking on the road, “What are they selling?”

“Everything! And dirt-cheap!” said my driver.

I looked out and saw old radios, gramophone records, broken sofa sets and clothes strewn all over the pavement and some stalls even spilling their stuff onto the road. Hawkers were shouting and yelling and customers screaming back as they tried to haggle better prices.

“Let me walk a bit while you get out of the jam!” I told the driver curious to see what was being offered outside. I recollected days gone by as a youngster, when pavement stalls yielded better and cheaper buys than fancy shops behind.

I strolled down the road leisurely glancing at wares laid out seductively, curiously watching buyers and sellers passionately engaged in doing business.
Suddenly I saw him.

He brushed past me almost with the same speed he walked at the park. On impulse I followed him and found him heading for the clothes section. “Have you got it?” he asked the hawker impatiently.

“What?” asked the stall owner trying to recognize him from the crowd that was examining clothes in his stall.

“Tracksuit!” said the walker.

“Tracksuit?” asked the hawker and I found all the people at the stall looking at the stall owner and grinning, “No tracksuit available, try next Saturday!”

“You said the same thing last week and it’s getting colder!” said the man.

“Go to the shops and buy!” said the hawker.

“Can’t afford!” said the bald man hurrying away.

It was even colder next morning at the jogging track as I felt him walking behind. My friends in their woolen outfits sniggered waiting for my comment. I said nothing but saw him suddenly looking back at me, then at my bare legs startled, and then he grinned as he stared at my shorts!

I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I tried to grin back at him..!

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Robert Clements
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Robert Clements

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist with an estimated readership of 6 million. He also conducts a short-term writer’s course. Contact him on bobsbanter@gmail.com for more details.