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The two faces of Hunger #5 - Home, Interrupted The two faces of Hunger #5 - Home, Interrupted
by Katerina Charisi
2020-03-16 10:46:42
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Home, Interrupted

One morning, as I walked home after leaving the kids at school, I stopped to the grocery store to buy some cereals. I went back home and I saw an employee of PPC inside the building. I knew right away that he came to cut our supply. We waited for it, but we never talked about it with my husband. As usual, we avoid talking about things that we have no control of; it only makes us angry with each other and we keep blaming our selves or each other for our situation. Our life is more like a road race, with nowhere to sit and catch our breath. I usually struggle to catch up with our bills and they always overrun me; I struggle to pay our rent on time but the owner will always call first; I struggle not to let hunger get inside our home, as the fridge and cabinets empty; I always come last.

The employee gave me an apologetic look. “Don’t worry”, I told him. “I knew it would happen.” “You should apply for a settlement”, he said, more to release himself from the guilt. I bet he has to deal with angry, sad, or desperate families every time he has to do his job. I could see it in his eyes.

“We tried already. Many times. They want a big payment advance. It is impossible for us.”

The man for a few moments says nothing. He thinks. Of course, he can’t possibly know that our problem with PPC is not the two-month bill, but an old debt that got four times up through the years. Yes, it is the very same expired and forgotten bill from when we had the coffee place. Sometimes we paid a little more along with the current bill, but many times we couldn’t even pay the current bill. We just put it on the pile, along with everything else that we couldn’t pay. We knew that someday we’ll have to deal with everything on that pile, but there was nothing we could do about it. So we just hid it and pretended there was nothing there.

ftoxia_400“Well”, he said eventually, “the payment advance was the 30% of the total amount. They reduced that to 20%”.

We still can’t do the math.  We couldn’t afford the settlement when it was half the amount it is today, and since then our financial situation worsened. “Yeah, right”, I replied, maybe more indifferently than I wanted. I wonder what is he thinking, as he watched me turning my back on him and walk away with my box of cereals? Maybe he thinks I’m mad at him. Maybe he thinks that I’m a bit crazy. That I don’t care that in less than a minute my house will be out of power. But I am not crazy. I just try not to freak out. I don’t have this luxury to freak out. I wonder if that man knows that I have two little kids? In couple of hours they will be home all hungry, because as usual they would have shared their lunch with their friends and the pigeons.

And I won’t be able to cook for them. Well, at least I have cereals, I thought and laughed out loud. Just not to freak out.

Of course I’m not mad at that man. And it’s not the first time we deal with this. My seemingly indifferent attitude it’s only because I need to remain calm. There’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t have money at all. I try to focus. I try to think what I’m going to give to the kids for their lunch the next day at school. I think of the new electric cooker. I have a brand new electric cooker but no electricity. I try not to laugh hysterically as I climb the stairs to our floor.

Out of my door I grab my keys and I can listen to the radio I left on when I left earlier; at the same moment I listen to the pliers’ snap. The radio goes silent.

We opened our doors at the same time - I, my apartment’s door and he, the building’s front door as he left.

Job done. The doors slammed behind us.


 The two faces of hunger #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 


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