Pamela awoke to the bright light-hearted chirping of the charcoal black robins that perched by her window every morning. She sucked in a deep breath of clean spring air, and quietly - before stepping out of bed - she thanked mother nature for bringing life and color to the world, for bringing air, water, and food to the people who lived. She even thanked the animals and plants who sacrificed themselves to support the needs of the people; She apologized for taking their lives to support her own, but - she thought - there was no other alternative.
Once she finished, Pamela slipped out from under the cotton sheets, stood up from her bed, and walked to the large full body mirror that was placed at the front of her room where she could always access it.
Then, throwing herself a quick smile, she began talking to herself out loud in front of the mirror. If someone had walked into her room right that second and saw what she was doing, Pamela couldn’t have cared less. In fact, she might’ve been grateful that the person was there to keep her company, and maybe even invite them to have breakfast with her.
But of course, not one came in. So, Pamela remained alone, talking into the mirror. She started by pointing out to herself how she was thankful for the healthy body that her mother had given her. She was thankful for a complete figure : eyes, nose, ears, legs, arms, hair - you get the point.
Then, Pamela told herself how lucky she was. How lucky, that she had a healthy and strong body that could take her places, enabling her to do so many things. Once she felt she’d appreciated herself long enough, she gave thanks to the mirror - talking to it as if it were alive - and told it how much she valued its presence and significance.
For just a second, Pamela waited for the mirror to respond, and when it didn’t, she was grateful for that too because if it had, she might’ve thought herself crazy.
Walking down the rickety stairs of her house, she slipped her brick red woolen sweater (which she had grabbed from her closet before coming down) over her head. As Pamela made her way down, she nearly tripped over her own feet, stumbling awkwardly down the rest of the stairs. When she finally made it to solid ground, a smile tugged on her lips.
Just last week, when her brother had come to visit, he had walked down the same flight of stairs and broke his leg, but Pamela, on the other hand, had managed to keep balance and bring herself to safety without so much as a scratch. So, instead of cursing her clumsy feet for causing her to trip, she expressed her gratitude towards them for keeping her upright and was happy they saved her from a detrimental fall.
Pamela continued along her path to the kitchen. When she entered, she headed to the large white fridge that sat in the left corner of the space. Nonchalantly, she strolled over to it and opened the wide double doors to reveal a fridge packed with a miscellaneous collection of produce, meat, and dairy products. Silently - like she was accustomed to doing - Pamela thanked the house Nanny (which her mother had hired) for doing the groceries the day before and for stocking up the fridge with all her favorite items.
Then, she pulled open the bottom drawer and picked out a banana. Pamela fiddled the fruit in her hands, observing every attribute of it. The banana was overly ripe, nearly half of the skin had browned, leaving only faded shades of the fresh yellow color it once had. The fruit was soft to the touch, and as she peeled the skin, the sweet aromatic scent of the fruit filled her nose.
The condition the banana was in might seem odd to some, given that the house Nanny had just went and stocked up the fridge. The Nanny, who herself, had been quite accustomed to buying fresh barely ripe bananas for her own family, had been surprised by the disapproving look she received when she had done the same for Pamela during her first trip on the job. From the on, the Nanny knew better than to pick fresh yellow banana's.
Pamela preferred her banana’s to be overly ripe. She liked and appreciated the imperfection that they had on the surface. She knew that if she didn’t buy the brown bananas, it was not likely anyone else would. If she didn’t buy them, the store would probably throw them out into the garbage the next day, and just like that, the bananas would have gone to waste.
Pamela definitely did not want that. So, whenever she or the house Nanny would go out to buy groceries, she made sure that they picked up at least one bundle of brown bananas.
As Pamela grabbed the carton of milk on the left side of the fridge, she grabbed a fine china plate, set the peeled banana on it, and placed the plate on the dining table.
Then, she took a plastic bowl from the counter, reached for the cereal container, and poured herself a bowl full of frosted cheerios which she then drizzled a cup of milk on. Grabbing a spoon, she set all her food on the dining table and sat down on her favorite chair - the one with a plush cushion on it ( something she really appreciated).
Then, she spooned a couple of cheerios into her mouth, chewing slowly. Paying attention to every bite, Pamela smiled when she noticed that although she’d left her cereal in the milk for longer than usual, it still hadn’t gone soggy. That made her quite happy and made the experience of eating the cereal much more enjoyable.
With her spoon, she cut up the banana into uneven slices and threw them into the bowl, mixing it with her cereal and milk. Once that was done, she placed another spoonful of cereal and milk into her mouth, this time, a slice of banana mixed in too. The sweet flavor of the fruit only accentuated the deliciousness of the meal. With every bite, Pamela was satisfied and content.
As she ate, she remembered inviting friends and family over to her house the other night. She was happy that they were able to make it and delighted that they were willing to spend their evening with her. She’d prepared an extravagant dinner for them, consisting of various delicacies and desserts. However, when they came, nobody seemed to have taken into account how much effort and energy Pamela had put into preparing the feast . Each and everyone of them - regardless of whether they were a friend or a family member - simply sat down and ate, completely taking the meal in front of them for granted. Completely taking Pamela for granted.
By the time she finished eating, Pamela found herself in tears. Quietly, she set the spoon down quickly, fearful that if she held it a second longer, her hand would no longer have the strength to hold it.
She walked over to the kitchen sink and set her dirty plates down to wash when she heard the ring of a doorbell. Wiping her eyes with her sleeve, she took a deep breath and made her way to the front door.
Collecting herself one more time, she smoothed out her hair, tucking it behind her ears, and blinked the last bit of tears out from her eyes. Then, Pamela opened the door wide and feigned a smile, ready to greet and welcome whoever it was that came to visit.
To her surprise, the friends and family that she’d invited over a couple nights before all stood at her doorstep. A couple of them returned her smile while others looked down at their feet, afraid to meet her eyes.
Pamela’s mother, who was at the front of the group and the closest to her, reached out to Pamela and pulled her into a tight hug.
“Pamela, dear.” She said, “We’re so sorry that we didn’t thank you the other night for the wonderful meal you prepared for us all. Your father and I were talking about it last night, and we decided that it was absolutely necessary to call everyone back to show you our appreciation for all the hard work you put in to host us as your guests. ”
Everyone else nodded in agreement.
Pamela’s mother continued, “So, we decided that tonight, your father and I would like to invite you to our house tonight. We’ll do all the cooking and preparation. All you have to do is come over.” her mother looked at her with pleading eyes.
Pamela felt the dried tears begin to water her eyes once again, and she hugged her mother who smelled like the Granny Smith Apple Pie she ate as a child.
"Yes, I'd love that." Pamela whispered softly in her mother's ear.
At that moment, she was incredibly grateful, more grateful for that moment than any other moment in her life. She thanked God for blessing her with such a family, one that loved and appreciated her contribution and existence in the world.
Pamela knew that not everyone was given the privilege of having a complete family that was kind and caring; She was lucky, and like all other things, it wasn’t something she was going to take for granted.