Blast from the Past: The Color of Hunger

This post was written on October 07, 2007 in response to a writing prompt. When I was fourteen, my father decided that his health problems were from eating meat. He became aggressively vegetarian. He allowed eggs and milk for the younger children, but those of us who were older were required to eat the same diet he did. It was during this period when I was finally growing that I was hungry all the time. So this is about then.

Sometimes at night when my stomach hurts, I would see the yellow and brown swirl at the back of my eyes. My eyes closed. I tried to think of anything, but my hunger.

We had washed the sheets today and pulled them taunt, pinning them on the line. The sheets would whip in the wind. It was much work, but when we were in bed we could smell the sweet pine in our sheets. No Downy. Just wind-whipped sheets.

Finally, when I couldn’t stand the sharp growls of my stomach, I would slip down the stairs to the kitchen. The kitchen was across from my parent’s bedroom. If they heard or smelled anything, they would be up… making us go back to bed hungry.

I dare not turn on the light.

Next to the oven, my sister and two brothers stood also hungry, also looking for food. We dry-giggled when we realized that we had tiptoed down those stairs– one after another.

I put four unshelled eggs in a pan. Boiled hard, we hand-pealed and ate them. The white, the yolk. Each had a distinct taste. We savored each part.

Afterwards we washed the pan. Hid the shells. We wanted no one to know we had been here.

It was done in silence.

6 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: The Color of Hunger

      • I was raised in an extremely abusive home. No starvation but just about everything else. It’s mostly behind me, now, but sometimes comes back to haunt me. So I understand.

      • Yea– I worked hard to be self-sufficient because my childhood was this normal– maybe why I tell stories– I don’t know. So yes– and I am haunted less now than when I left home the first time. I can at least write about it now. The intense feelings have lessened through the years– TG.

    • Yes– I left home by going into the Navy. I don’t know why he went strange. I don’t remember him being like that before I turned 8. Now my mother and I were at odds from my earliest memories.

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