Becomes One Hundred Stories #37: Eats a Piece of Bread

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Eats a Piece of Bread

The young man took a piece of bread. He took a piece of bread and ate it. He ate the piece of bread and thanked the girl for giving him the bread.

The girl told the young man that her mother had told her to offer him the piece of bread.

The young man told the girl to thank her mother for telling her to offer him the piece of bread.

The girl told the young man he could thank her himself when her mother returned from the place where they prepared food in the place where they lived.

The girl’s mother returned from the place where they prepared food in the place where they lived.

The young man thanked the girl’s mother for the bread.

The girl’s mother said she was glad he liked it.

The young man said it was the best homemade bread he had eaten in a long time.

The girl’s mother said she could prepare something else for the young man to eat.

The young man said the bread was enough.

The girl went to the place where they prepared food in the place where they lived. She had seen the look in her mother’s eyes that told her to give her some alone-time with the young man.

When the girl’s mother heard the girl washing up after the meal, she asked the young man how long he could stay.

The young man said he could stay as long as she needed work done.

The girl’s mother said that could be a long time.

The young man said or until the bread ran out.

The girl’s mother said that could be an equally long time.

The young man said again that he hadn’t tasted homemade bread that good in a long time.

The girl’s mother said she hadn’t seen a young man work as hard as the young man had worked that day for a long time.

The young man said he had always been able to work hard. He could work hard in any weather. Always had.

The girl’s mother said they hadn’t had anyone around the place where they lived to do any of the hard work for a long time.

The young man said he had just been passing through, but he wouldn’t mind eating bread for a while—bread that tasted as good as the girl’s mother could make.

The girl’s mother asked the young man how old he was.

The young man told her.

The girl’s mother said that was a good age.

The young man knew better than to ask the girl’s mother how old she was. But he figured she wasn’t too much older than he was.

The young man said that every age he had been had been a good age.

The girl’s mother said then he had much to look forward to.

The young man asked how old the girl was. He had no qualms about asking that.

The girl’s mother told the young man how old her daughter was.

The young man knew the girl’s mother could not be much older than he was. He said that was a very good age.

The girl’s mother said she remembered being that age, and it had been a good age for her.

The young man took another piece of bread.

The girl’s mother asked him if he wanted any butter with his bread.

The young man said no. He said it was good enough to eat plain.

The girl’s mother blushed. She said it was a fine compliment.

The young man let some silence pass between them for a time. He thought about bread and homemade bread. He listened to the girl washing up after the meal in the place where they prepared food. He thought about the girl baking bread and he wondered when the girl would be able to bake bread like her mother could bake bread.

The young man took a bite of bread, and he chewed it slowly. He savored each bite, and he looked at the girl’s mother. As the young man savored each bite, he looked at the girl’s mother and looked at the way she looked at him. He thought about the way she looked at him, and he liked what he thought.

A crash from the place where the girl washed up after the meal caught the girl’s mother’s attention. She called out for her daughter to be careful.

The girl screamed back that she was being careful, and she continued washing up after the meal in the place where they prepared food.

The young man had watched the girl’s mother as she had turned and told her daughter to be careful and then laughed when her daughter replied as any girl her daughter’s age replied—as she had once replied when she had been that age. The young man watched the girl’s mother.

He watched the girl’s mother as she turned back to the young man and looked at him once more. He watched the movement of her mouth when she told him he had been gone five years.

The young man said who.

The girl’s mother said the girl’s father.

The young man took another bite of bread. He looked at the girl’s mother as he chewed her homemade bread.

The young man said that was a long time.

The girl’s mother said long enough to leave much hard work to do.

The young man pointed at the half-loaf of bread and said there wasn’t too much hard work to do. Not enough hard work to outlast the bread.

The girl’s mother said still the young man would leave in time.

The young man asked the girl’s mother if she would prefer he left sooner rather than later.

The girl from the place where she washed up after the meal cried yes.

The girl’s mother said not if he wanted to stay.

The young man said he didn’t want to cause any problems.

The girl’s mother let some silence pass between them for a time. She cut a slice of bread for herself and spread some butter on it. She took a bite and chewed. She brushed her hair back and looked at the loaf of bread.

The girl stood in the entrance to the place where they prepared food. She was crying. The girl looked at the young man with glassy eyes and red, puffy cheeks.

The girl’s mother said it had been a long time.

The girl said not long enough.

The girl’s mother started to say something, but her daughter cut her off and screamed that he promised he’d come back.

The girl’s mother closed her eyes and sighed.

The girl returned to the place where they prepared food, and she continued washing up after the meal.

The girl’s mother said he’s not coming back.

The young man said he could work hard in any weather and under any condition. He said he could work hard under the present conditions. And he took another piece of bread and return to his hard work.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.

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