For dinner, his first meal of the day, Martin took a little bite out of his rice, had some carrots and vegetables, and took half a bowl of radish soup. He had one bite of pork chop, and another two slices of potatoes. The rice was hard and dry, and the company, nonexistent; hardly a meal, one would say, but he was leaving the rest for his family, and had planned to join them again when everyone was at the table. Currently, one member of his family was asleep on the rattan chair. The other two was nowhere to be found, and mother was stuck at a prior engagement. In the morning he had bread before rushing off to work. After work, he then rushed off to his second job. There was no time for lunch.
Dinner time crept around, but still, he was unable to eat yet, he wanted everyone to be at the table. So because he was so busy that day, he ran upstairs to sort through his bills, and look at his dwindling bank credit balance. He had no money, he uses RM 500 for savings, or he likes to think, a flat tire, a future, a medical bill, or something unexpected. He uses RM 400 to pay for his younger brother’s fees and pocket money, another RM 500 for food and other expenses, like fuel and soap, and only the most basest of necessities.
2 hours had passed before he realized the time. It was now 8.30. He went downstairs to see if everyone was ready to eat yet. To his horror, his family had finished all the food because they thought he had already eaten. Mother exclaimed, ” I THOUGHT YOU HAD ALREADY EATEN!” his heart sank. ” I was even forcing myself to finish ALL THE FOOD.”- this was the great punch in the gut. They looked at him woeful, apologetic, but it was no use. He raced to the soup pot, and poured out what remained. He went back to the table, only the hard stems left. He almost cried; but men don’t cry. Mother offered to fry an egg, but Martin refused, his pride being far bigger than most of his qualities.
He spent the remainder of dinner gnawing on hard vegetable stems that only produced a lumpy mush of fiber in his mouth. He ate it emotionless, joyless, only to fill the gaping emptiness in his belly. His belly was full- only of soup and radish. He was miserable. The promise of food, the longing for food, the longing of warmth to nourish his spirits, and a broken promise.
Then Martin remembered. He remembered the millions of hungry and starving, and the broken promises of food every day. He remembered the families who have no families, the ones who have no dinner table, the ones who have no house, the ones who have no bills, the ones who have nothing. Then he remembered his call, and he vowed never to victimize himself again.