The Rich Get Richer
By Jake Nicholson
The rich get richer. You can feel the slim beam of golden light which flows over the lining of the clouds above. Warmth seeping into your skin, through your pores, soaking you through to the bone. Rows of buildings, as high as the eye can reach, tower over the millions of well dressed below them. Their beauty unparalleled, each blade of concrete grass expressing its individuality through an infusion of curves and edges. The fresh, earthy smell replaced with a confusion of expensive aftershave and morning baked bread. Suits buzz past. Thoughts of missing a meeting bouncing through their seemingly vacant minds. Fluorescent lights from billboards spill onto the polished pavement. Reds, blues and yellows synchronizing into an orchestra of colours and lights, the deep sapphire providing the bass complimented by the sharp violins of scarlet. A shimmer from a grand, silver statue catches your eye. The craftsmanship has a sort of gravity to it. Each angle lures you in closer and closer until you’re seemingly face to face with the shining piece. Confidence and wealth captured in a silver freezeframe. “King Terrence III” sat perched on his regal throne, chin resting on his cane, crown offset to the left. Your eyes trace the statue’s outline, an aura of sunlight hovering at the fringes of the argent sculpture. Polish from the statue tiptoes up your nostrils, the aroma tickling your nose.
A soft breeze pulls your attention to a blush pink flower petal, floating just past the rubber toe of your shoe. You follow its path, trailing behind the petal as it dances along the warm tar of the footpath, spinning and weaving in the wind. Noises of joyous laughter crash through the tinted glass panel to your right. A silk blanket of sound wraps around your body, engulfing you in a warmth of comfort. The petal swerves around the corner, only 5 metres ahead. You drop your blanket and pick up your pace, striding through plumes of engine smoke. Squeaks of your rubber soles swallowed by the hum of engines and city mummer. Behind the corner of the glimmering building hid a neighbourhood of contrast. Oppression, controversy, and desperation segregated from the affluence and security which enveloped you now. Contrasting lifestyles separated by only a tightrope of politics and history, a tightrope you had found yourself eerily balanced on.
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
A surge of revelation demoralizes you. A canvas of grey, black and brown, painted over kilometres of repetition. One story buildings demeaned by the towering skyscrapers that were now leaning over your back. These exaggerated buildings which once looked glorified now seemed only condescending.
An elderly lady sat hunched on a dusty milk carton, her dreaded hair stooping over the teal bandana holding up her aged locks. She craned her neck to the left, giving you a depressing glance before dropping it back down to her needle and thread. You slowly step forwards, tracing your feet through the maze of litter scattered across the cracked pavement. You spot a barbed wire gate swing open down an alleyway to your right. A hooded teen peeps his head out around the rusted metal cage protecting the house; If you could call it that. The walls were made from decaying brown bricks, crumbling at the corners, with a patchy paint job flaking off the walls. From your angle you can see the second window, roughly boarded over the frame. You hear the clink, clink, clink of a spray can. The boy with the black hood disappears into the labyrinth of miscellaneous homes, stained grey from the gloom of cloud inversion. Curiosity takes control of your body despite common sense begging it not to. Carefully you peer into the obsolete property where the juvenile once stood, only a second ago. A dull red masterpiece with ‘HELP’ bannered across the side of the building locks you in place.
Shock freezes your limbs, your feet seemingly rooted to the spot. The frost spreads up your body to your heart, unable to beat, unable to escape. Frozen. Four letters enough to make you feel the distraught of an entire neighbourhood, to feel their burden of decisions made only to favour the rich. He was just a kid, probably 12 or 13. He didn’t deserve this immensity on his shoulders, the pain of poverty and negligence. He shouldn’t have to resort to destruction in order to create some form of rebellion. Yet he did, and that was the saddest part.
The poor get poorer.