It was like going back to childhood. This little round candy continues to fascinate now as it did then.
It was displayed in large glass jars in the neighbourhood store. There was enough loose change only for one or two. This made it all the more precious. Placed in the open palm, sliding it from tip of finger to wrist, it looked like a dancer. Held against the light between my thumb and index finger, I'd imagine it was the globe...how delightful it was to find countries, oceans and mountains. There were no blues and greens and browns of the maps, no jagged lines demarcating territories or creating borders, no distance of miles, or even the eye trained on how far the crow flies. This monochromatic world, lacking in colour, was a great unifier.
One day, it fell down. I didn't know whether it hurt, but it was round no more. I picked up a jagged piece and poked myself. It was done without thinking too much, or thinking at all. Today, I would say it was about experiencing the hurt, even as I might never have understood it.
Your shape changes, you are broken, some parts of you are unrecognisable as specks. But aren't bullseyes meant to be targeted? I did not know where it got its name from, or whether it was the real name. Behind the glass, they were just bizarre eyes. Or, round zebras.
I read somewhere that zebra stripes are meant to confuse predators. The straight and diagonal lines crisscrossing appear as motion and with every move gather momentum.
Now, think about my humble candy as it speeds off from one end of palm to the finger tips. How can it fight my predatorial instinct when I already know what those stripes mean?
Those empowered with knowledge can use it rather well, especially when what — and in most cases who — they aim at is vulnerable. They are informed and privileged. They know about the warts. Worse, they know about the camouflage. As they tilt their head, I can see black and white stripes in their smiles.
I exchale the menthol of the candy. It stings the eyes.
© Farzana Versey