The other night a kid (well, he used to be a kid when I met him ten years ago) called me in a bit of a desperate frenzy. Things are just not working out the way he expected, or wants them to, and it’s all getting to him. I could hear through the phone he needed a tangible, touchable friend, and a hug, so I drove to town at midnight and picked him up. That was last week.
Sunday night he called me from town again. He sounded a bit better than before, but still not so hot. I offered to come and pick him up again and he took me up on the offer before the offer was fully out of my mouth. He spent most of his early childhood on the streets, and then in and out of jail. He has, however, been doing really good the past couple of years, with a job and positive attitude leading to some positive choices. But things seem to be going all Chinua Achebe on him right now; Things Fall Apart. He’s confused, angry, hurt, sad, lonely, unsure what to do (that is legal to do), and so on. For now, he is back on the streets.
So Sunday night when we got to the house he asked if I had any food. Unfortunately I did not have all that much in my cupboards. There were some week old leftovers in the fridge that I was not wanting to subject him to, but he retorted, “Week old, shmeek old!”, or the likes of that sentiment at least. He poured a half a bottle of chilli sauce on the week-old, half eaten chicken burger and shrivelled up chips. He had nothing but compliments to the invisible chef. It was not all that much food and after he finished it off he was still hungry, probably from not eating a proper meal for a few days.
I had Cornflakes but no milk. He said, “Not to worry…” he can just use hot water. So, I poured him a bowl of Cornflakes, he sprinkled some sugar on top, poured some warm water over it and popped it in the microwave. He ate that bowl of Cornflakes with his eyes closed, making continuous “mmmmmm” noises, as though it was the best meal he had ever eaten. He even said it was the best meal he’d had all week. Cornflakes drenched in hot water!
Why am I telling you this? Because we, that have so much, still have the nerve to find things to complain about. And there that grown up kid stood in my kitchen eating watery Cornflakes with his eyes closed, savoring every bite. Let’s take stock and be grateful for what he have. No mater how bad it may be, there is always someone out there in a worse off situation. There’s even people with no Cornflakes.