Joe Artista |

Ex ore palvulorum veritas
[Truth comes out of the mouths of little children]

I once spoke to a puerile Egyptian street girl, no older than eleven or twelve who stood upright at approximately 140 centimeters. Holes were carved into the cloth and jeans that draped over her upper and lower body. At its best, both could be considered drab and used as a cleaning cloth. However, she wore it with such pride and conviction that one would have deemed it fitting for royalty.

At a quick glance, there was really nothing special about her. She was dirty all over. Decorated with soot and remnants of fragmented leaves and branches, the entangled coal-colored threads for hair garnished the curvatures of her partially hunger-sunken face. Her russet colored eyes glistened in contrast to the splotches of dirt that were pasted on her skin. When I examined her face closely, I caught sight of the seven or so linear scars that were carelessly etched into her flesh. My curiosity begot me.

“Would you mind telling me of your scars?” I asked her.
“You mean these battle scars?” she exclaimed with a smirk while pointing at each of the seven lines.

I nodded.

“I won these in battle!” she belched almost incoherently. “I won these when I defeated the bad man!” She stood a little taller than the 140 centimeters.

“Who was this bad man? What did he do?” I inquired.

“It happened almost one year ago. I was patrolling the streets with the younger girls. We were maybe five or six kids, asking people for food or some pocket change. Everything was okay until this man approached one of the smaller girls. He drove up and opened his door to hand her something. But then he tried to take her. I ran over. I pulled on his hair. I bit him. I scratched him. I hit him. Everywhere! I tried to poke his eyes, scratch his face, anything to make him focus on me.”

She panted and closed her eyes to catch her breath as she relived the moment.

“He pushed and then he kicked me. I fell back into the street and then he drove away. The girls came to me and said I was bleeding. I don’t know when or what, but I guess he cut me. But I don’t care because I won! I defeated the bad man and saved my friend. These scars are proof that I, a girl, am stronger than any man!”

At that very moment, in her presence, I finally discovered two unimaginable epiphanies that squashed a piece of my pessimism and cynicism. Humanity is capable of flourishing in a rotting world, and I too, must have the courage to accept and embrace my wounds and scars.