After everything that’s happened, it seemed like days since I was back here. But somehow it felt like a safe place, it felt like home. Yet this was your house, not my home. I put my bag away, behind the sofa, and got to work. I had the first of the chores on your list done when my stomach rumbled.
Breakfast had left me after my run from your house, what happened in that open field, and the long trek back through the woods. My hunger was lost in the hurried drive down the road and became a whisper in my terror at seeing someone in the field. It had no voice in my dash to the barn to encounter your rifle or after you told me that my fear was unfounded. It said nothing when you sent me back to the house and drove away.
My hunger had been patient, but now it roared. I felt weak in the knees, so I stopped what I was doing and decided it was time to prepare supper. I was in the middle of cutting pieces of ham off an ate up bone when I heard a knock at the back door.
“ Hi do ma’am, “ a boy said, looking through the screen door. He looked my age, with dark skin, deep black eyes and worn overalls that were too big for him. He smiled. “Olde Pete said I could come to the house for supper.” Olde Pete, was that your name. Papa hadn’t said, or Mama, who was coming to take me away. You ain’t said your name either, or had you? You were talking so when you brought me here, but I ain’t heard one word.
“ Is it alright, ma’am,” the boy asked shyly, staring at me through the door. His words drew me from my thinking. “ Is what alright?” I asked.
“I’s powerful hunger and Olde Pete said I could come to the door.”
I looked down at the meat on my sandwich. I knew it wasn’t enough on that bone for another one. I looked back at the boy. He looked like he hadn’t ate in days. I sighed inward.
“ Well come on in, I just finished making you a sandwich,” I said, adding mustard on a piece of bread. “I hope you like mustard, causing we don’t have nothing else?”
“ Oh yes ma’am, I’s like mustard,” he said happily.
The boy washed his hands at the sink. He wasn’t as tall as Pete, but he still towered over me, and thinner. He smelled like the earth when he took a seat at the kitchen table next to me. I placed the plate in front of him. “ Thank you ma’am.” He grabbed one half of the sandwich and gobbled it down before I poured him a glass of milk. “ Thank you ma’am, “ he said again, reaching for the glass.
“ I ain’t no ma’am.” He nodded bring the glass to his dry lips, I frowned. “What’s your name, “ I asked him.
He stopped drinking to look at me over the rim of the glass. “ I’s Billy.”
I nodded, of course he was, I thought.
“ I’m Syreeta.” He smiled again.
When he was finished, I could tell he was still hungry, so was I.
Copyright © 2013Glynis Rankin