Snakes and Pills

120 - unison

Starving, little Diane wandered into the kitchen. The house was empty now, both of her parents out working whatever job they could find. Several hours would pass until they would be home. She was left to fend for herself.

The house was empty, but somehow the kitchen was even emptier. It always was, these days. Diane knew that she shouldn't even be in here, her mother had actually explicitly forbade it. But the rumbling of her stomach was enough to overcome any stern warning her parents had given her. She had been able to ignore that rumbling better, in the past.

She had felt this hunger for as long as she could remember, but earlier, it would come and go. After meals, it might be gone for hours. The meals, though, got smaller and smaller. The rumble came back quicker and more frequently. And finally, it seemed like it never went away.

Just a little piece of bread, Diane thought. Something, anything, at least to get her through until her parents came home and she could have her supper. She wasn't tall enough to get up to the counter where the breadbox was, so she slid open a few drawers to use as a makeshift stepping stool.

The drawers usually just contained things like utensils and cooking tools. Diane was quite surprised, then, when she glanced down into the drawer second from the top and laid her eyes upon the most glorious sight: a jar of strawberry jam.

Her little hands quivered nervously as she took possession of this rarity. Vaguely, she had some recollection of what jam was, what it tasted like. She knew it to be sweet, and good. Briefly, she questioned why it had been placed in a drawer full of spatulas and tongs. She never considered that it had been hidden there intentionally. Rather, she thought perhaps it had simply been misplaced. Maybe it had fallen into the drawer on accident, and been presumed lost.

Now, she had unearthed this lost treasure. Of course, Diane would proudly display her accomplishment to Mother and Father when they came home. As far as she was concerned, she had struck gold.

So proud was she, that for a moment she had actually forgotten why she was in the kitchen at all. But all too quickly, the sharp pangs of hunger came back. She still held the bottle of jam in her hand.

Diane knew she couldn't. Sneaking a tiny piece of bread was one thing, but a treasure like strawberry jam was something best left to her parents to decide how to use. Yet, she still held on to it.

On the other hand, she was the one who found it, wasn't she? If it hadn't been for her, there'd be no strawberry jam at all. Didn't she deserve just a little taste?

Nervously, she twisted the lid off. She was surprised at how easily it slid open. An immediate aroma of strawberries floated up into her nostrils. Diane couldn't remember anything ever having such a wonderful smell. If there had been any willpower left in her body to not have a taste, it was gone now.

From one of the drawers she had previously opened, she produced a spoon. The top of the jam was perfectly smooth and flat. Diane knew that once unsettled, this ocean would never be calm again. She no longer cared. With delicacy and finesse, she poked the spoon down into the jam, carving out the tiniest of tiny tastes for herself.

Diane wanted the moment to last forever, but the rumble in her stomach wouldn't let it.


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