Amina closed the bare kitchen cupboards with a heavy heart. Their contents were everyday items like jars, plates, cups and other kitchen necessities. Everything except the most essential item. Food.

            She had not a can of baked beans, a slice of bread or a pound of butter in the fridge. The only ‘food’ left was what was on the two-plate stove: a small potato and a chopped carrot she was boiling with the last of the salt.

            “Will we eat soon, Ma?” asked Javed, her five-year-old son.

The boy was her blessing, the last connection she had to her husband. Mohsin’s death had been so sudden that Amina was still trying to process it, was still unable to come to terms with the finality of her school sweetheart’s demise.

Scooping Javed up into her arms, Amina tousled the child’s hair. She hugged him tightly for a few seconds before planting a kiss on his forehead.

“Yes, I’ll give you something to eat in a bit, son,” Amina promised, her heart breaking into tiny pieces.

At least, it’s something. There are others who truly have nothing at all, Amina thought.

She set Javed down and moved over to the pot to strain the water. The vegetables were soft enough to dish up for the boy.

The two lived in a one-bedroom unit with an attached bathroom. The room was the only place Amina could afford once she had lost her home due to her inability to pay the rent. She had been grateful that she could sew, for it had become her sole means of income and survival. Moving into the shanty slum was the most difficult thing for the once-proud and blissful widow to do, but life had left her with no other choice.

A knock on the rickety door made Amina jump. Aside from the next-door granny, hardly anybody ever visited them, especially not after sunset.

Placing the bowl of food in front of Javed, Amina went to see who had come calling.

Two young, strange youths stood outside. Both wore brilliant smiles that made their hazel eyes twinkle even in the darkness of the night. Each bore a large box in his hands.

“Salaam, Aunty. We’re so sorry to bother you this late,” said one of the youths, the one with a black mole in the centre of his right cheek.

“We meant to come earlier, but we lost our way to your place,” explained the second one, his left cheek dimpling deeply when he smiled.

“This is for you, Aunty. It’s from the mosque committee. We’re handing out food parcels tonight,” said Mole Boy.

“Please don’t refuse it. It will mean the world to us if you were to accept it, Aunty,” said Dimpled Cheek.

With that, both youths placed the boxes down and turned to leave.

“Wait! I don’t know what to say,” Amina stuttered.

“Your heart has already said it,” Dimpled Cheek answered.

Like two earthly angels, the youngsters walked off without a backward glance.

Image: Erik Torres (