She watches over the steaming pot as the refugees file in, dirty and weary. Filling their bowls with hot stew, they speak to the cook as they smell the aroma. They say the food is incredible, the food that keeps them warm on these cold nights, and they ask what’s in it.
The cook shrugs and says, “Potatoes, carrots, and just a touch of love.”
They smile and move on.
A woman steps up. Haggard and red-eyed, she shuffles slowly up to the pot with her bowl in hand. Bags underneath her eyes the size of half-dollars, the woman looks lifeless with fatigue. The cook looks at her, saying, “Still no sign of your husband, Mrs. Love?”
The woman says no, fighting back tears. She says he must have left her for another woman, for he’s been gone a week with no sign of him. “We all know the kind of man he is,” the woman says, sniffing.
Telling the woman not to worry, the cook dips her ladle into the pot to fish out extra pieces of plump, pink meat. Dropping them into Mrs. Love’s bowl, the cook says, “I’m sure he’ll turn up eventually.”
Mrs. Love sniffs the food, smiling at the aroma. “You’re probably right,” she says, then walks to her seat to eat her stew, stew prepared with potatoes, carrots, and a just a touch of Love.
By Trinity Martin