Tuesday, 15 December 2015

I'm Hank Marvin (Starving)

The smell of grilled meat permeated the air. The aromatic marinades, enhanced by the smoky scent made my mouth water and my stomach rumble. It wasn't a small, quiet sound, this rumble had no intention of ever stopping... or being quiet.

I placed my hand over the embarrassing noises, merrily churning out, applying pressure, but it did nothing. Absolutely nothing!

I had hoped that the pressure of my hand, combined with the clenched stomach muscles, would stop the sound, but it was to no avail. The rumbles continued. One rolling into the next and with each new rumble, I swear, the volume got louder.

Shit! I sensed myself turn red. It felt like the whole street stared at me. But I refused to investigate. I mentally berated myself for not sparing five minutes to eat something... anything, like the apple sitting on my desk at work.

As much as I hoped that no-one had heard the off-key symphony, the rustling of a bag, right behind me, put a downer on that thought. Somehow, I knew that the rustling bag had to do with me.

What if they placed it over my head to shut me up?

Before I let that thought fester, a gnarly hand shot out, holding a bread roll. Mortified, the heat in my face intensified further. Fuck! 

One thing was clear, silence by suffocation wasn't on the cards today. But if the bread roll was anything to go by, everyone had got a load of the ruckus. How could they not hear? It was impossible to miss as it sounded like a train approaching a crossing or the station.

For a moment, I contemplated running away from the situation. If I ran a few blocks down, I might still catch my bus? Who was I kidding? I was as fit as a rock heading to the bottom of the sea. As much as I wanted to walk away from the embarrassing situation, the hour long wait for the next bus curbed any other crazy ideas.

The roll drew my attention again. It was hard not to miss such an offering. If anything, my stomach acknowledged it with another loud drawn-out rumble. Hunching over further, I tightened my already clenched muscles, all the while screaming silently to myself to shut the fuck up. I don't know why I even bothered to do that as it had no impact whatsoever.

I willed my eyes to focus anywhere but at the tempting morsel, focussing instead on the hand, as gaping at the food encouraged my belly to sing loudly, for it wanted a taste. The skin on the hand appeared transparent, making the blood vessels stand out like a road map. A map that led you through the many wrinkles, discolouration, right to the bread roll. The whole hand appeared old and tired, but the roll looked fresh and scrumptious.

The roll shook before my eyes.

Or was that my vision, or my hunger making me see things? Nope, the roll continued to move in an up-down motion as if to say, "Take it and stop making such a racket!"

Something prodded me in my back. As the 'prode' appeared to be in in sync with the motion of the hand, I assumed it was the same person, urging me to take the offering. Before the surrounding people decided to knock me to the ground and forcefully feed me, I reached out and took it, muttering my thanks.

Another loud rumble, followed by another sharp poke, made me abandon any further acknowledgement of thanks in favour of stuffing the roll into my mouth. Mouth full, face red, I chewed furiously, trying to get something down to appease my angry stomach.

A few seconds later, my bus arrived. Thank God! I couldn't wait to get away. As I got on, swiped my card and found a seat, I noted that no-one else got on which prompted me to glance out the window.

I expected to see a huge crowd but instead, only one other person stood at the stop. An old woman. Her snow white hair bowed down as she hunched over her walking frame holding a bag of rolls. As the bus began to pull away, she looked up and straight at me, her weathered face lit up with a smile. Her eyes kept mine captive for a moment and I raised my hand to wave.  The bus turned left, breaking my contact with her as she disappeared from sight.

The next day, I stood at the same bus stop holding a bag of rolls. I arrived early and waited for the woman to show up. She didn't. I waited for her every day for a month, but she didn't show up. Instead, each day, as I saw my bus approach, I took out a roll and snacked on it all the way home. 

Copyright Tia J. Lee 2015
All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment