Last night, I was terribly hungry. I had been hungry for as long as I know, but last night was different. I was terribly hungry that my stomach growled so loud I almost danced to its beat. And it wasn’t just me. There were many other people around who would give anything to have a bite of air or a sip of rain. We lay down on the open field, backs to the ground, and heads turned to the sky. Everyone, grouped into cliques. Hope was what kept us alive… and we would pray too, day and night, that God should listen to us and surprise us. We knew He could. Miracles are His forte.
There had been no rain, and the crops couldn’t thrive. A lot of the big men had left the city behind in search of better abode, because they could. But me, the rest of us, Basilli was the only earth we knew. So we stayed, because even if we chose to leave, there was no where else to go. Thousands lay dead already, their rotting bodies nourishing the soil to no profit. For what shall it profit earth to have manure for food, but no rain for water?
I was in deep thought. Still in deep thought of the woe that befell Basilli, and the eventual fate that would befall the rest of us if no succour came, when a truck drove into the field. It was a government truck. There were loaves of bread, and cheap bottles of water stoking the truck to near convulsion, but it didn’t seem almost- enough to feed everyone. Despite the people that had left the city, by choice or fate, Basilli’s population still stood at about a few dozens less than a million. Everyone rushed at the truck and the drivers grabbing food like it was a ticket for one more chance at life in Basilli. My clique and I split, joining the tussle, pushing and pulling. Eventually, I got to the truck in time to grab the last stock of bread and water.
I stood beside myself then, angry at God and life. After all those nights of praying fervently for a miracle, it came and all I got from it was a flimsy loaf of bread and bottle of water, when a lot of the other people got a dozen more in excess of what they needed for themselves, their cliques and their families! I was thoroughly angry, wondering why God let them have what they didn’t deserve! With loathing tears in my eyes, I looked up to re- assess the injustice everywhere. And for the first time since the mob action, I noticed a good number of people without food nor water, one of whom was a clique member I used to pray with every night before we fell asleep.
I rushed to him in wonder. ‘Ketu, you are a strong man, how come you couldn’t make it to the truck to get some food?’
‘Milo, I got pushed and trampled upon five times, hurt myself so bad that I couldn’t attempt another step. I crawled back here even.’
‘What?!’ I was surprised. ‘How did that happen?’
‘How did it happen? You mean you didn’t even get a bruise? Common! Everyone got injured or badly scarred out there! Some even died! We are lucky!’
In a space of seconds, anger had turned to sympathy, and sympathy to shame! I was ashamed at myself. There I was thinking God was all shades of not nice, when he had saved me from getting any more miserable than I already was, and he even let me have food to eat… none of which I deserved. I began to realise, as I sank to the ground that my star did not not shine and God did not not smile down on me. Infact, I didn’t deserve life any better than those that died of hunger, or got killed while hustling for food, yet He gifted me with it.
So, I put down my bread, cut it into neat pieces and shared it to a few others without food. And as I watched them eat, all thoughts of my own hunger got lost on me.
Last night was a miracle, I couldn’t sleep. I just laid on the field, watching the stars in the sky. I was happy and fulfilled. And so I kept vigil to thank God for His Love.
Disclaimer: Names of cities, and people used here are as fictitious as can be. By the way, Google says Basilli is a Bacteria… Oh well! I hope you enjoyed the story. 😀
© The Short Black Girl, 2015.