The cold wind blows in from the Atlantic Ocean. Biting, penetrating every part of my body. Only a few miles more to walk and I’m home. The waves crashing against the shore in the distance. The howls of the wind sounding eerie in the dim evening light. Rain is falling, softly, only here can it be described as soft. Soaking my clothes but not really visible in the air. The feint glow of light in the window guiding me across the fields, keeping me away from the cliffs and a fall to death.
Another day of searching, searching for food that isn’t there. My clothes are tattered, my shoes no longer providing any protection from the ground. They said there was food over in the fields beyond. Only a few scraps, but enough for a bite. Enough to stave off the hunger that eats away at me each day. Enough to give the child waiting at home, screaming and wailing in the pain of hunger. The wailing that came from many a house, filling the air at night.
When I got there, there was nothing. The big house was locked, the people inside frightened to open the door. Knowing the savagery of a hungry person. I wonder do they feel guilt? Do they feel guilt being able to eat a full meal every day. As they sit down to eat do they think of the people out in the fields who are starving and dying? The sounds of crying children at night, does that not pierce their consciences? As I left, a piece of bread hit me on the back. Looking back to see a child in the window. It’s enough to eat, enough to stop the child crying.
The long walk back drains the last bits of energy that I have. Staggering and stopping. Sitting and then walking. My stomach burning. The bread burning too, burning my hand. Persuading me that there’s enough to eat for us all, just a few bites for me and there will still be enough for the child. It grows in size as I hold it in my hand. Tricking me, making me eat it. I put it back in my pocket, the child must eat first. I carry on across the wet fields. The silence soon to be broken by wails.
There in the distance appears the glow. The glow of sanctuary, and a bed. Bed and sleep the only place and time the pain in my stomach disappears. Food for the child. My pace quickens, the wind still cutting through me. The fog coming down over the house, the glow of the candle seeming more ghostly. And then I fall. Blackness. Blackness until tomorrow when I make the same journey again. The same journey I’ve made every single day for the last 170 years.