Today's Sunday Scribblings Prompt is Cheese. Below is a little story I wrote for this prompt. If you'd like to read some of the other stories, poems, and thoughts on this prompt go Here. Following this post is last week's Prompt on Hunger.
No More Cheese
I guess I was about 11 years old. I was standing in the kitchen of my mom's little house. She had just carried in a box. She placed it on the counter beside a sack of things from the grocery. Something was bothering her. "Wow, that's a lot of cheese" I commented. There was a huge block of yellow cheese and some other food items in the box. No response. I looked at mom and saw the tears in her eyes. This was something I rarely ever saw. Mom just didn't cry, at least not in front of me.
"What's wrong, Mama?" Quiet. Then she took a deep ragged breath. "I will never take public assistance again! I don't care if we starve." she said, her teeth tightly clenched. I imagined it was to keep her from falling apart. Voice cracking, she said almost in a whisper, "People look at me like I'm trash. I will never put myself in that place again!"
It cut deep into my heart. My mom worked noon shifts and night shifts waiting tables. I also knew that sometimes her paychecks were zero, or near zero, because the restaurant subtracted any tips she received as part of her wage. If she got a lot of tips, she got no check. It never seemed right to me. I also didn't understand how people could judge a single mom for needing food for her family.
Nearly everything mom owned had come from yard sales, second hand stores, or from friends, who passed along things they no longer used. She worked hard to pay the rent, heat, utilities, and that left very little. Would those people, with their judgmental eyes and comments, have preferred to see her go without? All I knew is that my mother was hurt and hurt deeply, to have dropped her guard and let me see her tears and her pain.
After that if there wasn't enough change for a quart of milk, we drank water. She served a lot more macaroni, soup, and rice. And, there was never another big block of "free" cheese in her home.
copyright 09/27/09 ajj
Before I forget, there are more of my Sunday Scribblings on this blog. To see just the entries I've written for Sunday Schribblings, go Here. Also, if you click on a word under "Labels", just below, it will bring up stories or posts that have been written on the same subject. Hope this helps those of you who are newer to "blogland".