I’m not the happiest with this, especially the ending, but it’s complete in itself, soooo. 😛 I hope you enjoy it!
My stomach grumbles, and I hold my breath, glancing towards mummy. She’s been sad lately; I don’t want to upset her more by telling her I need more food. By the expression on her face, though, it’s obvious she heard it, and an odd look comes into her eyes. She stands, walks over to our kitchen cabinet, and peers into the two jars we have there, the ones I’m not allowed to touch. I know that one has flour and the other, the oil.
She sighs, and then turns to me, a smile on her face. “Good news, baby boy,” she tells me. My stomach grumbles again, and I’m hoping the good news has to do with food. “I can make another few pieces of pancakes.” I break into a grin.
“Stay here, okay?” she says, as she goes over to our front door and puts on her shoes.I can’t help but think she looks really sad, like something bad is happening – kind of like before she told me daddy died – but surely it’s in my head.There’s more food; what could be wrong?
“I’ll be back soon,” she continues. “I just need to get sticks so I can make a fire. You know the rules, right? Don’t open the door for strangers, don’t go into the kitchens, and don’t play with things you’re not supposed to.” I nod my agreement; I know all that. She smiles once more, opens the doors, and leaves quickly.
I’m not sure how long passes, but it’s a while, because my stomach only growls louder. I play make-believe with some wooden carvings and the wooden bowls we have until I am bored. Mummy still isn’t home and I’m so bored. I go to the windows and peer out of the curtains, but she isn’t even in the distance. How long more will she take? Her instructions repeat in my mind but I’m curious, and I want to know how much I’ll be getting to eat. With one last look outside the window, I make sure she isn’t coming, and then run over to the kitchen.
The jars are on the table, and I have to jump and pull myself into the table to see inside, but when I do, I’m surprised. There’s not much at all! If I were to reach in, I’m sure that the flour will fit in my hand. A noise at the door startles me and I quickly jump off and rush to the wood carvings in the living room just as mummy opens the door and comes in. I look up at her but she seems lost in her mind because she doesn’t even say hello like she usually does.
“Mummy?” I ask, standing up and moving towards her, but she doesn’t say anything. She walks towards the stove and puts down the twigs before turning to the jars. I repeat her name, and by now, I’ve followed her to just outside the kitchen. “What’s wrong?’’
Again, she says nothing, and I take a tentative step forward, but she doesn’t scold me. Instead, she starts to remove the flour and oil, mixing them together to make dough. I watch from beside her as she starts to shape it into a loaf. “Mummy, didn’t you say pancakes?” I question.
A strange look on her face deepens, and she frowns, turning to look at me. “It’s not for us,” she says, softly.
“But there won’t be enough!” I say, loudly, forgetting that I wasn’t supposed to have looked. But the rules don’t seem to matter today, cos I’m in the kitchen and mummy isn’t angry. “Who is it for?” I add, wondering who mummy thought needed for more than us. There was only enough dough for that one loaf, and I saw that she had taken a whole handful, so there shouldn’t be any more flour or oil left. Did she love someone more than me?
“The prophet Elijah,” comes the answer, but she says nothing more as she puts the dough to cook. I blink at her. The name sounds familiar but I’m not sure who that is; it’s not any of our neighbours, I know that much.
Mummy interrupts me. “Hush, dear. The Lord has sent him to me. Who am I to deny the bidding of the Lord?”
I don’t understand her words, but she looks very worried, and I don’t want to make her more worried, so I don’t say anything. When the bread is done, it smells delicious and warm, and my stomach growls again. Mummy wraps it up in a napkin, and goes to put on her shoes before leaving. This time, I don’t wait to make sure she’s far away before running to the kitchen. I open the jar and peer inside, already expecting to see it empty, but something’s not right, because the same amount is inside!
I am sure I saw her take out a whole handful, so there should be none left; this can’t be right. And yet… I rub my eyes, and look again, but nothing changes. It’s almost as if the flour mummy used wasn’t from the jar – like it came from somewhere else.
Quietly, I close the jar and go back to the living room to sit and wait. Now, I’m not just hungry, but curious as well. A long, long while later, she returns, and goes to the kitchen calmly. I watch her carefully; when she opens the jar, she hesitates for only a second before reaching in and taking out a handful of flour.
“How many did you want?” she asks me, as if nothing unusual has happened.
I shrug, not knowing what to say. How many is a ‘few’? That’s what she said she could make, after all. I don’t want to ask for more. But, before I can answer, my stomach complains once more. This time, though, mummy smiles instead of looking sad and reaches into the jar again. It’s like the flour is never ending and someone is refilling it.
“How?” I blurt, before I can stop myself.
She stops kneading the dough and turns to look me in the eyes. “I was promised that the jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain,” she says, smiling even wider. “The prophet of the Lord won’t lie to me. We will keep feeding him and us until that day comes.”
I don’t really understand her, because like before, she’s using words I don’t really get. But, I know some of what it means, and even though I’m really hungry and I wish the food was ready, I can’t help but feel this happiness inside of me, because I know this much: we’re not going to starve.