Oh God, I hate my life. It was bad enough that I had to step out of my home after I'd been prepared to chow down on my dinner but not only did I have to give Him food, I also had to watch him eat? Did I really commit such terrible crimes in my previous life? As I went down the elevator, I planned to just leave the food, walk around the complex for a few minutes then return when I was sure he’d finished eating. There was no way I was actually going to watch him pick a spoon up, scoop some rice in it, open his mouth and stick it in. Ewww. I could already feel my lunch coming up my throat.
“You,” I called when I was a few feet behind him. It’d expected him to turn around on hearing the sound of my feet on the grass or at least the sound of them on the pavement… after all, I'd been dragging them for a reason. But nothing. He just had to make me speak to him. He was so lifeless that I squinted to make sure someone hadn’t sculpted a not quite broad-shouldered statue on the pool chair. Then he coughed. “You,” I repeated.
He turned around and after his eyes registered recognition, he frowned. As.shole. It wasn't like I'd expected him to jump into my arms and ask me how my day had been but why the hell did he have to frown? What had I ever done to him? But being the nice, wonderful person that I am, I ignored that transgression and walked over to him.
“Here,” I said, holding the tray out to him.
“What’s that?” he asked suspiciously.
“It’s my science project.” I mean, what the hell? Other than a tray filled with food, what else could a tray filled with food be?
“Look,” I said, “my mother sent this for you. She saw you sitting here and thought you looked hungry."
His frown deepened. “Do I look like a beggar to you? If I’m hungry, I’ll go home.”
I nodded in agreement. “That’s exactly what I told her but she forced me to bring this here.” Since he made no move to take it from me, I dropped the tray in the chair next to him. “I have to stay till you finish eating so could you just start?”
He looked at me incredulously. “I already told you that I don’t want it, so take it back with you.”
What the fcuk? “Look. There’s no way I am carrying all that food back with me so you’d better start eating,” I said, pushing the chair closer to him.
He pushed it back, almost knocking the tray off.
“Are you crazy?” I screamed. “Are you trying to throw away the food my mother spent her time cooking? I know you have no manners but isn’t that too much? Why are you insulting Umma?”
Before he could finish his sentence, his stomach growled. Then growled again. And again. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. So his dumb ass was hungry but he was just being stubborn? Well, I figured it was time for me to teach him the downside of stubbornness.
I took a deep breath, put my poker face on and looked at him. “Well,” I started with mock pity, “I guess you’re not hungry. I’m sorry that you think my dear family is treating you like a beggar.” I bent down to pick the tray. I couldn’t be too sure but I could have sworn that he reached out for it but quickly stopped himself.
I walked over to the trash can. “As I said, this is too heavy for me to carry all the way home so I guess I’d better empty these plates now.” I picked up the bowl of rice and turned it over into the trash. Next was the plate of barbequed beef. I picked a piece of meat up and popped it into my mouth.
“Hmm,” I said in exaggerated satisfaction. “This is soooooo good. It’s a shame it’s going to waste.” I finished my sentence as I dumped the rest of the beef in the trash.
I didn’t say a word to him after emptying all the other dishes. Instead, I picked up my tray and skipped back into the building with the biggest grin on my face.
“What the hell was that?” and a slap on the head was my welcome back into the apartment.
Sh.it! In my quest to teach that idiot a lesson, I’d forgotten that my mother would be watching. So, of course, she saw the whole thing. I gazed up at her sheepishly with the kind of look that was meant to melt a mother’s heart.
But providing me with further proof that there was a good chance I'd been adopted, it had no effect on her. Instead, she pulled me into the house by my ear. I winced in pain as she dragged me past my giggling sister and into the kitchen. I put the tray on the counter with her fingers still on my ear. “Umma, please stop!” I begged.
“Why should I?” she asked, twisting it even harder. “How dare you throw it away? I sent you down there for one thing but instead you did another. What's wrong with you?”
At that moment, my father walked out of the bedroom. “What’s all this noise about?”
She let go of my ear and turned to him. “Why don’t you ask your daughter? Why don’t you ask your daughter why she threw out the food that I’d slaved to cook? How dare she?"
One of the joys that came with being born to a mother like mine was that she always acted like housework was much harder than it really was. Not that I’d actually had to do it all but really, how hard could it be?
She sighed. "And there's a hungry boy down there and she was so heartless. Where does she get it from?”
She looked so disappointed that I almost regretted it. Almost.
She glared at me for a few moments then lifted her arms in surrender. Then she turned around and mumbled to herself as she marched out of the kitchen.
My confused father looked at me. “What did you do?”