Starved beyond silence

Bang. Bang.

“Just a second.”

I was still between that half-life that is sleep and wakefulness.

Through my half-lidded eyes I saw shadows moving up and down. At the end of the bed.

Photo by Ron Lach on

To the same rhythm as the noise.


Through my half-opened eyes, I sat up. And saw him.

Dark framed in a shimmering light.

Ragged, torn, dirty clothes. Emaciated face. Swelling belly.

I’m watching a televised famine. Biafra.

The shadow is holding an empty metal plate. Banging a metal spoon.Bang-Bang.

“Hey”, I said. “I’m here.”

I fall out of bed, stumble half asleep towards him. I wave my hands. In front of his thin grey stick face. Which is all eyes.


“Stop,” I said.


I lean down and grab the spoon.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

And I miss. My hand went right through his.

And it was then my blood turned to ice.

He looked up. His eyes said it all.

“Are you hungry?” I asked.

No response. No reaction.

I motioned. Hand to mouth.

Food? Hungry?

A silver lined nod.

I understand now. Not was he starving but he’s a deaf mute.

So I mimed picking up his spoon. And feeding him.

And I never thought this was possible. But I saw wet tears in his eyes.

And a slow building light filled them as he met mine.

I led him to the kitchen.

Opened the fridge, motioned to the food and said, “you don’t need to be hungry anymore.” I still remember the smile before he disappeared.

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