The little girl sat on her worn mattress, tattered doll in hand. Her stomach rumbled for the millionth time that morning as she sat staring at the door. She willed with all her might that it would open and that on the other side her nanny would be standing with a bowl of cereal or fresh scrambled eggs, still steaming. She licked her lips.
“Eggs are favorite!” Her young mind spun with the possibilities and the thought of a hot breakfast. The door never opened, no matter how hard she stared at it, and how long she prayed that it would.
She got up from her mattress, which had no frame and sat on the cool carpeted floor. Her eyes wandered around the dirty floor covering searching for some scraps of something. A half-eaten cube of noodles in a Top Ramen bag, an old peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Her stomach ached for anything to eat at this point. Anything to stop her from having to leave the confines of her room.
She dropped the tattered doll on her bed and made her way to the door. Her small hands wrapping around the knob, she turned it as quiet and as gentle as she could. As the door began to peek open, her eyes searched the tiny hallway. The nanny was nowhere around. If fate was kind she could just tip-toe to the kitchen and grab something to eat.
With her heart pounding furiously, she closed the door behind her, positive she was going to be caught. Slipping into the hallway, sliding along the wall as she went, she could barely breath. Even though it was early afternoon, all the lights were off and the small house was dimly lit.
Making her way to the kitchen, a small beam of sunshine streamed through the one dusty window above the fridge. Her ears perked at every noise and she carefully pattered to the one cabinet she could trust to contain food.
It was low to the ground and the door was the least squeaky out of the whole kitchen. Its height in comparison to her made it an easy target and she popped open the door as quiet as a mouse. With satisfaction, she saw the cans of Spam, and Top Ramen.
She reached for the latter and quickly stuffed it in her shirt. It made an angry rustling sound and she started to sweat. She was going to get caught. If she got caught, she wouldn’t eat today. Her nanny would take it away in an instant and then proceed to yell at her for long periods of time.
Afraid she had alerted the sitter, she stood straight as she could and tucked the plastic package into the top of her shorts. Then, she pulled her shirt over the top. She turned abruptly and began to make her way back to her room. It was then she heard the heavy footsteps and the floor creaking beneath them.
“What the hell are you doing in there?” The large lady screeched at her.
“I was hungry.” Star scrambled to get out.
“I don’t give a damn!” The nanny bellowed out. It was followed by a string of expletives that were aimed at Star. The Nanny always used big ugly words that made Star feel smaller than she already was. Star hurried down the hallway before the nanny saw the lump under her shirt.
“Please don’t let her hear the sound.” She prayed out loud, and managed to make it into her room and shut the door before the nanny stopped her. She dropped on her bed and shoved the packet of hard uncooked noodles under her blanket.
It wasn’t safe to eat it yet. Sometimes, the nanny would come to her room and hit her on the head, after a venture to the kitchen. So Star sat patiently and waited.
After a time, when there was no noise alerting her that the nanny was coming, Star opened the soup. She used the blanket on her bed to muffle the sound of the package rustling. Then, she broke off a piece of the hard noodle square and started chewing. It would be hours before her parents would be home and she had to make it last.
As the dull roar in her tummy faded to a quiet ache, she grabbed her doll and lay down. If she could sleep until her parents came, then she could get through the rest of the day. She pulled her worn blanket over her and closed her eyes. She dreamed of the day she would be warm, loved, and no longer hungry.
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