The story of the eight red apples

Posted by Sithembile Masia on

One day, while walking in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, I saw a dirty old woman selling just eight apples! Everything about and around her looked dirty - the chair, the table, the plates she used and the apples too!

How my heart immediately bled for her, a few seconds later, it bled for me. What I saw hurt me so much that I swore to myself that I would never allow myself to get to that kind of situation. I swore that no matter what happens to me, I would never allow myself to be left with just eight apples to sell.

You see, hers was a big dilemma. She had reached her end. I mean if nobody bought her apples that day (of which I’m almost certain nobody did), then she would have to eat them for supper – and that would be her end.  Just the next day, her life as a vendor probably ended and she progressed to be a street beggar. In my life though, she took the most prominent position – living in my memory 24/7.

Over the years, I’ve shared her story with some of my friends and family members (or anyone I thought needed to hear the story) warning them to watch out for decisions that could lead them down this path.  I did the same, I worked hard and, as far as I am concerned, took decisions that steered me away from such a calamity.  But today, nearly 20 years later, I feel I have become her and my mind is full of questions I did not ask myself before, like:

How did she get to that point – that situation? Was it from desperately running away from poverty, like I have been doing? Or did it just land on her despite all her efforts, just like it has happened to me?

Was she really dirty, or was it my perception of sellers at the time?

Did she perhaps choose to merchandise just eight apples – was it not perhaps her plan (or strategy as we would say these days) to sell more apples?

What if I had stopped to talk to her, what could she have told me? Would she have confirmed or corrected what I perceived to be her sad situation? Would my life be the same if she had told me that that was her plan?

No, I know what I saw. The story of eight apples is as I saw it.  Why am I asking all these questions now? Am I trying to mask it - to make up a case for my failures?  Truth be told, I feel I'm just about to be her. Just a few unknowing steps and I'm there.

How will I know when I’ve become her? What are the signs? Is there a line that I would cross and thereafter there would be no going back?

Like I said, deep down I feel I have become her - or partaking in the same spirit and feelings that led to her fall. I mean I’m tired enough to let go of everything, really I am (even suicide enters as an option sometimes – yes, life is that hard).

Luckily for me, and for obvious reasons, I can’t let go. She is pursuing me - more than ever, my thoughts are flooded by her. She is urging me to move on. I want to, but since I can’t bring myself to think about where my next plate of food is gonna come from, or think of new strategies for my current business, or how the hell I'm going to pay the people I owe, I have instead decided to focus on the only thing I can think about – the woman with the eight apples.

Yes, I have decided that I will share her with you. I have a feeling that there’s a lot that we can learn from her. I’ll also take you through my life's journey – a journey I’ve lived with her on the steering wheel.

So visit our site regularly for updates - we have a lot of ground to cover.

Till next time….xoxo

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