FEAST OR FAMINE
She walked the cobblestone streets daily. Although her years were young, her experience was aged. Still, she continued to visit well-known friends and acquaintances. Her parents had passed in an elemental storm when she was very young, so she knew not of their ways. Yet, she had a significant remembrance of what she had been taught. Because of this, she was able to continue on and hope for the best. She didn’t only hope, she knew the best would come because of her faith. No matter what transpired, the early lessons by her parents instilled the values she held so dear. One day, while she was making her way along the well-worn road she normally chose, she happened upon a man of great wealth. At first, she ignored his beckoning for he had an abundance of charm. She had been told by her wise Godmother that a rich man with great charm is a sure recipe for disaster. Therefore, when he asked her what the color of her hem was, she pretended like he hadn’t spoken a word. Finally, he caught her attention by naming all of the shades inspired by the color purple. She was entranced. How did he know purple was her favorite color? In this heightened state, she let down her ever-present steely guard. He then said to her, “I want to give you what you have never been given before. Will you let me do that for you?” Speechlessly, she obliged. Within minutes, she saw an endless expanse of the most magnificent feast she, or the most educated person, could conjure up. This, by far, exceeded what she had been accustomed to eating. She had nearly resigned herself to believing the food given to her by her friends like an occasional bowl of rice, handful of nuts or grapes and a ladle full of goats milk (her favorite!) was all she would ever receive. She was always grateful and thanked the Lord and her friends profusely without ever begging for more. “Please eat,” said the rich man, “there is more where that came from. I will promise you that.” With slight hesitation, she did and not only found great exhilaration at the supremely palatable fete; she wanted to divvy up the treasure with those she held dear. So, she ran to the mountaintops and shouted her finds to the heavens. From far and wide, she received praise and accolades. She felt the dire need to share her never ending feast with those closest to her. They submitted their support and accompanied her on a vastly narrated tour to the place she marked as “The First Day of The Rest of Her Life”. She talked and talked and talked as they walked and walked and walked. Before they rounded the bend just before the spot where the great feast lay, she stopped them and told them to close their eyes. “Now,” she said, “everyone hold hands and walk slowly as I lead you to this fine feast!” They did as she said and with each and every step, their anticipatory excitement grew. Suddenly, they heard her shriek. When they opened their eyes, they saw nothing but a long table with empty platters on it. They looked closely and saw a few scraps of meat and bread, but they could not tell how grand the feast had been. She cried and looked up at the heavens and said, “What did I do wrong? Was I not supposed to tell anyone? Is that why everything has been taken from me? I did not mean to be a braggart Lord! Please forgive me!!!” Her Godmother grabbed her and held her as she sobbed uncontrollably. “It’s okay. We believe you. Maybe something scared him away. It is a little rough out here you know. Just have faith and he will return,” her Godmother said. “No,” she said, “I’m tired of having faith. I don’t care if I ever partake of another feast again. I’d rather starve!” She needed to be alone so she told them to leave. They did with the promise to always be at her side when she needed them. She thanked them through her tears and fell on the table in a heap. She sobbed until nightfall and succumbed into a deep slumber. When she awoke, the moon was high in the sky and she saw more stars than she had ever seen in her life. “Yet another reward,” she said with a smile. She hopped off of the table and began slowly strolling back to her village. Before she rounded the corner, she turned and looked back at the table one last time. “I’ll never give into famine for I know my Lord has a feast waiting for me when the time is right,” she said. She looked up and winked then allowed the sounds of the night to sing to her as she returned to her decorated shed. ©2008 Twice-Shy Productions
LITTLE GIRL FOUND: A TRUE STORY (EXCERPT)
BY MOTHER SHYRA
I was born February 3, 1978. My mother welcomed me into the world with open arms. She said my father took one look at me and said, “That ain’t ma baby! That’s a white baby!” At my father’s suggestion, she named me Chira. Until this day, Chira (formally pronounced Shy-ra) is incessantly misspelled and mispronounced. I still laugh when people attempt to pronounce my name.
My father finally left our home when I was the tender age of two because he is half Saudi Arabian and his father told him he had to have a boy to pass his inheritance on to. He had already had two girls by my mother and felt enough was enough. He failed to realize it is the fertilizing sperm that determines the sex of the child. Instead, he met a woman with a sixteen year-old son he felt he could call his own. Several months after leaving my mother, the boy died in a motor vehicle accident.
Periodically, my father would show up at our house. It was usually at night when we were “supposed” to be sleeping. He didn’t know I knew about his oh-so-caring visits. He finally stopped coming around and my mother filed for a divorce and won ex parte. We didn’t’ see him for many years, until one day after church, we had a chance viewing. My mom and sisters and I were riding in the covered bed of our friends truck when the woman shouted, “I see Tommy!” We immediately perked up and started asking where he was. She told us he was in the car in front of us and had a flat tire. We followed him into a gas station. I was still in disbelief when he stepped out of the vehicle, pivoted and turned his face in our direction. The eyes got me. I burst into tears and we left. That was the last time I ever saw my father.
©2011 Twice-Shy Productions