Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: Radha's Lunch
By Sara Harricharan
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Morning snack break was ages ago.
The lunch bell rang and excited chatter filled the little classroom. Radha shrank back, watching her fellow classmates take matching lunch boxes from their cubbyholes and line up at the door to walk to the cafeteria.
She grabbed her plain pink bag and scuttled out behind them. Her tummy growled again and she wished she’d eaten more breakfast.
It ached a bit, though sometimes drinking water made it better.
They reached the cafeteria where the monitor, Mrs. Martin made everyone open their lunch bag before they could enter. Everything had to be labeled or ‘specially packaged.
Radha's mum took good care in writing things on Ziploc baggies—until someone had complained. Now she had to print labels at the office depot and stick them on the baggies.
Mrs. Martin glowered down at her from behind her thick, heavy glasses. She poked a ruler in the meager lunch box with a sandwich, carton of juice, a handful of pretzels and a packet of fruit snacks.
“Think you’ll eat your sandwich today?” she wheezed.
Radha gulped. Her tummy grumbled again. “No.”
Mrs. Martin snorted. “Well, you can’t eat these until you eat your sandwich.” She reached in and plucked out the fruit snacks and pretzels. “Do you want juice or water?”
“W-water.” Radha crossed her toes in her shoes.
“You can have juice if you finish your sandwich first.” Mrs. Martin wrinkled her nose. “Grilled cheese is good for you.” She turned to the next child in line.
Radha stumbled forward, shuffling to the table that no one else had picked yet. She set her lunch box on the top of the table. She was so tired.
Grilled cheese was terrible. She missed the almond butter and jelly sandwiches her mum had made—before Mrs. Martin had insisted she eat grilled cheese.
Cheese made her tummy hurt worse than not-eating.
Radha was so busy in her thoughts she didn’t realize that Mrs. Martin had come around until a bony, sharp-fingered hand squeezed her shoulder.
“Aren’t you done yet?” she growled. “That’s good food—going to waste!”
“Thirsty,” Radha whispered.
Mrs. Martin snorted. “You know where the fountain is.” She moved on, muttering to herself about dirty, ungrateful brats.
Radha slipped off the chair and slunk over to the cafeteria door. She ducked outside and into the empty main hallway.
Only a few more hours.
Her big sister always had left over snacks. She could eat those ’til dinner.
Radha drank her fill at the fountain. It soothed her angry tummy, but didn’t fill it right.
She tiptoed back to the cafeteria, but Mrs. Martin was still patrolling it. Her hands grew sweaty—but it was too late. She’d been spotted.
“If you aren’t going to eat, then sit outside in the hallway until you’re ready!”
Radha cringed. Her ears warmed. She bowed her head, shaggy pigtails hiding her face from view. She retreated to the hallway, trying not to hear her classmates giggling.
“…It’s because she’s so dirty-!”
“She’s ugly. Her skin is ugly.”
“…It’s because she doesn’t go to church.”
Radha sat on the cold tile floor, drawing her knees up to her chest. She sat there, reciting her favorite song about cats and unicorns.
She didn’t notice when the door slid open and Ashley crept out.
“Are you okay?” Ashley whispered, crouching down beside her.
Radha stared at her with wide eyes.
“You should tell your mum,” Ashley said. “Here.” She handed over a wrapped golden ball.
Radha hesitated, but felt too sick to refuse it.
Ashley smiled, shyly. “Grandma buys these for me.” She unwrapped a candy and popped it in her mouth. “Tastes like the sun. Right?”
Radha could only nod as the sweet, buttery flavor filled her whole mouth.
“Mrs. Martin is like my step-mum,” Ashley said. “That’s why I live with Grandma now.” She handed over four more candies. “You can have these. I have more.” She popped up to her feet. “Gotta go back.”
Radha stuffed them in her pocket, before Ashley could change her mind—or Mrs. Martin came to check on her.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.