“I saw Him” by Temitope Arogundade

I think I saw him

I must have seen him

He was lying in the path I took

I didn’t notice him then

As I looked out of the bus

I saw him


Lying at the roundabout at Obalende

Sprawled across it, better put

One leg actually on the road

People passing around him

Gingerly trying to avoid stepping on him

I saw him


He looked like a young boy

I estimate around 13 or 14

He was wearing a dirty Grey tracksuit

Tracksuit had red lettering and a red waistband

He was also wearing black boxers

I saw him


I thought he was sleeping

Then I began to fear he was dead

It looked like there was no movement

Obalende was at its noisiest

If he was alive, how come he wasn’t moving

I saw him


I began to panic

Why was there a dead teenager on the road and no one is concerned?

I almost put my head out of the bus

Trying to detect chest movement, to indicate breathing

Finally I saw it, he is alive, whew!

I saw him


I then thought, let me take a picture of this

Let me capture this and show the world

Then I wondered, wasn’t it the world that was passing by him?

Wasn’t I part of the world that will look and say ‘Eyah’?

And what did I do? Nothing

I saw him


The bus is full, we are moving

The bus is getting closer to him

I can see his face now

His face is bruised and swollen, lips twice the size of normal lips

Yet he still sleeps

I saw him


Then I wondered, what is his back story

Did he have a family?

Did he have a house or any other place to sleep?

Why sleep at a roundabout?

Why was he bruised and dirty?

I saw him


Why didn’t anyone help?

Why didn’t I do something?

Have we become so desensitized that we just look and walk away?

Is this a city problem, would it have been different in a village?

Or are we so preoccupied by our own problems that we cant see anyone else’s?

I saw him


I saw him

Everyone saw him

And as far as I saw, no one did anything to help him


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