|Selling Memories: Poems|
and Tales for my
When They Grow Up
by Rita Gitik
I thought I had friends who would not let me die of starvation. But they were not friends. They were just people who used to come to my house when I had money and to eat food I cooked for them. I was buying the best food. I was working hours in the kitchen, and I wanted to make those people happy because I thought they were my friends.
They always came when I invited them. They emptied their plates; they praised my food; but, when I was dying of starvation, they did not want to lend me money. I was not asking for gifts. I was asking for a loan and was prepared to repay it with interest, but they did not want to do anything with me when I ran out of money and no longer could cook for them. They wanted me to starve to death.
Yet, I did not want to die, so I collected my memories and went to the pawn shop. Memories were the only objects of value I had. I selected the most valuable ones and put them in a paper bag.
There was a pair of silver candlesticks, a wedding present from people I thought were my friends. Those people had told me years ago that the candlesticks were very expensive.
There was a pair of silver goblets, also a wedding present from people I thought were my friends. Those people, also, told me years ago that the goblets were very expensive.
And there was a necklace made of stones which looked like drops of blood. It was a birthday present from people I thought were my friends. Those people had told me years ago that the necklace was priceless.
I entered the pawn shop with a little paper bag full of my memories and proudly told the shopkeeper that I brought him things of great value, and if he would not have enough cash I could take a check.
The shopkeeper looked at the candlesticks; he looked at the goblets; he looked at the necklace. He turned them this way and that way. He weighed them, and, then, he very quietly told me that he could give me fifty dollars for everything.
I froze in fear. I was dying of starvation and fifty dollars could not buy enough food to calm down the hunger pangs. But I had nothing else to sell, and I could not find a job. I could not find a job for many years because people whom I thought were my friends did not want to give me one. They were coming to my house and eating the food I was cooking for them, but they did not want to give me a job. That’s why I had no money left and had to sell my memories.
I thanked the shopkeeper. I took fifty dollars and bought some food and ate it all. But soon I was hungry, again. And I had no more memories left to sell. And people whom I thought were my friends did not want to give me a job. And they did not want to lend me money. So I died. I died of starvation and became a star. A yellow star. Every night I shine high above the people who let me die. They forgot about me long time ago, but I remember them. Only those memories are worthless. The shopkeeper of the pawn shop is not interested in them.
To read more prose and poems from Selling Memories: Poems and Tales for my Grandchildren When They Grow Up by Rita Gitik, click HERE.