Skip to main content

I Ate Your Meal, Didn't I?

Behind me I heard, "Ma'm, I'm starv'n. Could ya gives me fifty-cents so's I can get an orange?"

Indeedy, he be starv'n. A tall rack o'bones; panic in the yes. Under his arm be a ratty blanket with a bit o'rope hold'n the bundle square.

"Can't give you fifty-cents. Ain't in my budget," I said.

Turn'n to wander away, I catch'd his arm and said, "but, I got enuff to feed you." I eat my only meal out once a month at a Chinese, all-you-can-eat, $5.99 buffet.

Only day I burp after eat'n.

Today, I watch'd Anthony eat and cry'n silently do'n it. If he be a'normal weight, he'd be handsome. Not this day. Today, he be haunt'n the world, a shadow nobody sees or a financial leper many run from.

Hard to have compassion in a world full of pain, I guess.

Anthony live'd in California. Ran out of luck. Promised job broken. Same song, second verse. Could gets better, but usually worse.

Tummy half full brought the first smile from Anthony. "Never had this kind of food before. It's really good! I can eat all I want?" I nodded, then said, "just use a new plate every trip."

Was hard look'n at Anthony. I could feel his shame. His manhood in shambles. An abyss of life without a future.

Anthony went to fill another plate while I fiddled with the few dollars I have left in my jumper pocket. "I can make it six more days till my next earned benefit. Easy peasy, done it many times," sang thru my nogg'n.

I paid the waitress for Anthony's meal and she hand'd me back the tip. She's known me a long time. I smiled and got a big one back.

"Don't know what these are, but they sure are chewy," he said. "Muscles," I replied.

Kinda fun watch'n his face crinkle to a "Huh?"

As I explain'd what a muscle was, I laid the last of my money on the table in front of him and motion'd for him to put it in his pocket.

"I gotta go, Anthony. Eat all you want. It's OK. I paid the bill, so when you be done, just leave free," I said.

Tears came to his eyes and said, "Ma'm, I'm so sorry. I ate your meal, didn't I?"

"That be true. You got a full tummy and I got full of satisfaction. Good Ju-Ju all around," I said, smile'n.

Anthony grab'd my hand an kiss'd it like they do in the movies. "I have nothing to give you in return," he said quietly.

That's where you are so wrong, Anthony. So very, very wrong, I said to myself as I turn'd and left.

Things will get better. They just gotta.

Originally posted to Wendy's Wink on Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 01:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Hunger in America, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Rebel Songwriters.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site