I didn’t even look up.
My once frightened and forever fidgety interior had become an icy, straight-faced exterior.
This time, out of annoyance, I looked up. I saw a beautiful, shiny little dark brown face, her head wrapped entirely in delicate, deep purple cloth, pressing firmly against the window of my beat-up, clunker of a Honda Accord. The beautiful child begged for money. So many times before, my heart had broken. This time was different.
I looked back down at my phone, aimlessly scrolling through the first world problems of my Facebook friends back home, as I lived, day to day, in what many still call a third world country.
I thought for a moment about how I had become downright careless. Not careless meaning that I absolutely should not have had my phone out while in traffic. Not careless in the way that I had forgotten that smash and grabs are quite common in Lagos, Nigeria– the traffic “go-slows”, as the locals call them, give nefarious characters the time and opportunity to smash windows, snatch valuables, and make off like bandits, all while being armed with nothing more than perhaps a crowbar and athleticism honed by years of darting in and out of moving traffic all day.
No, I was careless in the way that one has fewer cares. Six months ago, when I first arrived in Lagos, fresh off the plane from Houston, Texas, everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, was absolutely terrifying.
But today, I both carelessly and without cares, made eye contact with the innocent, begging child, but only for a brief moment. Because although I did not react in a heart-warming way to my surroundings and those in it, my heart had not completely become cold.