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Jane Rodway

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Ideals
By Jane Rodway
Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Wrote this about a true incident

He stares beneath the whizzing tires, the honking of cars and moans of trucks
drawing him in like a kaleidescope as they pass. His nose is running, and he breathes in the freezing air.
'Wipe your nose, Samuel," says Aunt Didi, handing him an old tissue with lint attached from the pocket of her thin fleece jacket.

"Stay close," she then says, wiping his nose for him. He is sure part of his nose is still left on the tissue. He breathes in and swallows.

Aunt Didi is talking on the phone and smoking a cigarette. She keeps an eye on Samuel and blows the smoke in the opposite direction, mmm-hmming the person on the other end of the phone.

"Your Mama will be out in a minute, Sam," she said, tugging him by his coat sleeve so that he'd sit on the bench beside her.

Samuel looks down at the dirty cuffs of his white ski coat. The coat is too small, and his wrists freeze where his mittens don't reach. Two women in fancy coats catch his eye as they walk in front of him.

"Erica! Is that you?" shouts the first lady, hugging the other woman. They both wear greys and browns, and Samuel wonders if they are trying to disappear.

"Danielle! I haven't seen you in forever! How've you been?"

The little girl held her mother's hand, then dropped it. She wore a bright pink coat and sparkling ribbons in her long blond hair. Samuel thought she looked like a princess.

"Yes, well, there's going to be a PETA protest," said Danielle, a serious expression coming over her pale face.

"You don't say! Well, I told you that she was a hoochie," Samuel heard his Aunt say into the phone. The little girl looked at him and waved. Samuel was swinging legs, and smiling. He waved back.

"Yes, well, you know, it is probably a wheat allergy," said Erica, shaking her bobbed head.

"Yea, I'm still waiting for Bea...., yea, Social Services," said Aunt Didi, staring off into space.

"Mommy, I'm hungry, let's go eat," said the little girl, tugging on her mother's coat. She pleaded again, but her mother shushed her and kept talking.

I only buy organics. This other food is killing people, I don't know why they eat such garbage," said Erica, shaking her head.

"Mommy, I'm hungry!"

Samuel puts his hand in his coat pocket and feels the smooth circle of an apple. He ran the top of his finger over the hard stem and inhaled the tart smell.

"I mean it is comparable to the holocaust, the way these animals die," said Danielle, grabbing Erica by her coat sleeve.

"Mommy, I'm hungry."

"I gotta go. My sister's just gotten out of Social Services and she's crying. Bye Tisha," said Aunt Didi, hanging up the phone with a snap shut.

"Oh, Didi!" sobbed Samuel's mother. Samuel tried not to look at her, because her tears destroyed him.

"Come here, Maria. Sit down, sit down. Tell your big sister what happened," said Aunt Didi, holding her sister around the shoulders.

Samuel held the apple in his hand. He knew the girl would like it, so he stood up, contemplating his approach of her.

"I mean, they have things like Social Services to help people," said Erica, pointing her hand towards the building she never looks at, let alone enters.

"Yes," said Danielle,"These people sit around and collect money, but who protects the animals? They go to McDonalds for a hamburger for 99 cents and don't bother to think about the consequences."

"Here," said Samuel, handing the apple to the hungry girl.

"No, I'm sure of it Didi," said Samuel's mother. "They said I make too much money for food stamps. How am I gonna feed my babies? How?"

Her head fell in her hands, sobs stopping words.

"Thanks," said the little girl, as Samuel handed her the apple.

"Come on, Sis, you know I'll try to buy some stuff for you," said Aunt Didi.

"You have barely enough to feed your family, let alone mine. I try to get back on my feet, get a new job, and they take my benefits away before I get my second paycheck. Don't they see that all that money goes to rent and bills?"

"Brianna! What are you doing?" shouted Erica. "That apple could have pesticides. Did you get that from your Grandmother? She never buys organic," she hissed, snatching the apple from Brianna's hand and tossing it into the garbage can behind her.

Samuel ran to the garbage can. He twisted his fingers through the metal holes and pushed the apple, inch by inch, back to the top of the can. His hands were soon on it, and he shoved it back in his pocket, sighing aloud.
He would wash it when he got back home.

"We can only go to the food pantry once a month, and we've already been this month, Didi," Samuel heard his Mama say behind him.

"That apple is your heart," said Brianna, pointing towards Samuel's coat pocket.

"Come on, Sam, we gotta get over to the soup kitchen before it closes," Samuel heard his mother say as she grabbed his hand in hers. He gave a long look back at Brianna and smiled.

"OK, Brianna, I'm hungry, so let's get over to the Wholefood Cafe. Wanna come along, Danielle?"

Brianna felt her mother tug her by her coat sleeve, still chatting away with her friend about protests and pesticides.

Brianna watched Samuel walk away between his mother and aunt, each one holding his hand on either side. They were singing a song about an ant and a rubbertree plant. Brianna wanted to sing, too.


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Reviewed by Jerelyn Craden 10/8/2006
Details are vivid and marvelous, heartrending and touching.
More. Jerelyn
Reviewed by SaPAth AnANd 9/6/2006
I like the story,It is simply brilliant!Keep up the good work Michelle.
Reviewed by Rhonda Galizia 5/1/2006
Awesome! Kudos, Michelle - well-written and penetrating with its point! When I saw your picture, I thought, "I know her, LORD!" I'm certain we are connected in Spirit.......[grin]. My second daughter's name is MichAelle also, [Michaelle Autumn].......the name is poetry in itself, no? Like a lovely lilt! It fits you ~ Looking forward to reading more of your work, Sister! love, Rhonda
Reviewed by richard poor 4/13/2006
another one...i really like this.
have you read my ss "the tale of re'mark"?
Reviewed by Alexandra Riera 11/28/2005
It's a very good story...I liked it
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 11/28/2005
Well written Michelle...and alot to chew on!!

Love Tinka




Shameless Shorts short story anthology by ellen george

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