A high pitched bell rang its way forcefully into her dream. It couldn’t be the alarm. It was Saturday. The twins were old enough to turn on cartoons themselves. Their cereal bowls were set out on the counter with a box of sugar- filled shapes pretending to be food set beside them. She wouldn’t have to emerge until ten. It was most certainly not the alarm. It was loud. Make it stop! She brushed her hair out of her face which was enough for her brain to wake up and her body to lunge for the ringing phone.
“Hello” She answered with a groggy sigh.
“Did I wake you?” The voice whispered back.
“Umm” She looked at the clock on her night stand. Was this a joke! Six forty -five! Uh, yeah she was sleeping.
“I’m sorry. It’s Carol. You were on the call list for church. . . to make meals for the sick.”
Had she really signed up for that? Of course she had, she just figured that in a church her size no one would ever get to her name on the list. It was a perk of having the last name Zeelen.
“Sure. What can I do?”
“Sandy Cooper was admitted to the Hospital early this morning she sings in the choir . . .the blonde with the amazing soprano . . .”
“Yes, I know Sandy. What did she have?”
Apart from the amazing soprano, she also had an over-ripe pregnant belly.
“You didn’t hear then?” Carol got teary on the line “They found out Thursday that its heart had stopped. Sandy ‘s parents are visiting from out of town. They wanted to be here for the birth. It’s so sad, really. The ladies are going to rotate bringing them meals for a while . . .give them some time to cope.”
“When do they need it?”
“Could you make a meal for the ninth.” Carol answered with calendar in hand no doubt.
“ No problem” Samantha answered. It was four days away. Could she not have waited until eight, at least?
It was too late now. Even after the dial tone, she couldn’t drift to sleep deeply enough to make a difference in her mood.
“I’m sorry. I was in the shower or I’d have answered it” Steven said as she stomped into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
Steven liked the sun. He rose to meet it everyday, Bible in hand.
“I have to make a meal for Sandy Cooper. Wait! Aren’t they vegetarians?” She wrinkled her nose at the idea of touching tofu.
“So make pasta or go on line for a recipe” Steven suggested.
For the next three days she poured over recipes. She was searching for something she couldn’t find. It wasn’t about lost sleep or vegetable lasagna anymore. She had no words.
The twins were five months old when their adoption was made official. It was Samantha’s only hope of being a mother. Time had nearly erased the pain of her attempts. She preferred to count her blessings these days.
She had begged God for a child. She couldn’t wait to sign the dotted line. They made it easy to forget. What would she say to this poor woman? What had she said to herself ?
Wednesday morning she went shopping. The lasagna was going to be colorful. She couldn’t remember ever purchasing so much produce for her own family. She found a yummy looking dessert recipe on line too, similar to a peach cobbler, with granola. She even purchased a six pack of organic orange soda. (It just sounded good).
As the colors mixed and the aroma filled her kitchen her mind became still. She remembered the soft smooth taste of Mrs. Jackson’s shepherd pie, that night eight years ago when she felt too depressed to even look at the food. Mrs. Jackson hadn’t said a word, her food told the story. It was rich with love and flavor. Mrs. Jackson juggled five children and a husband with cancer and she brought a meal that Samantha hadn’t had the heart to turn down. The sacrifice was too big to ignore.
As she pulled into Sandy’s drive way that afternoon she looked at the bag of food in the front seat.
“God, forgive my whining. Please be the words I can’t say. Speak through this meal, and heal their loss”.
Sandy’s mother answered the door and accepted the warmth of wordless comfort