S2: Episode 30 - Abigail

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Hunger and Resilience, narrative histories about the complexity and experiences of hunger. A traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by the San Antonio Food Bank, Eric Cooper, executive director. We are grateful for the honesty and eloquence of every voice. Episode 30, Abigail.

Abigail: Every day I ride my bicycle up this big hill, and at the top of the hill is a little bakery, and that is the best smell in the whole world. And I always ring my bell. I’ve never stopped. My friend Meta has courage. Anybody brave enough to bring a child into this world has courage. Our soldiers have courage. I think I have courage because every day I get up and I work hard, and I take care of my son. I laugh, I cry. I jump for joy. The mistakes that I’ve made have made me strong, and they’ve made me who I am.

Today. I don’t have any money, and tomorrow and the next day, I’m not gonna have any money. I work from eight to five. I’m a full-time student. I’m a full-time mother. I have a job to do every single day. And my paycheck pays electricity and rent and food. The money runs out before the weekend’s over. I work so hard every single day. I know that if I finish school, if I can get an education, then I can qualify for more than a minimum wage job. I define hunger as a longing, a desire, a want. When you’re hungry, bedtime is the worst time because everything is quiet and you have nothing to do but think. And when you’re hungry, it’s hard to think about anything else but food, it’s a very empty feeling. I just cry.

My friends at work, I’m sure they don’t know. You know, the last time I was hungry was this morning. The last meal I missed was lunch. But I wasn’t hungry. When I missed that meal. I didn’t feel it. You kind of get numb after a while. You know, sometimes I’m torn between thinking that, that I’m a pretty worthless parent. You know, it’s one thing not to be able to feed yourself, but when you drag your kid through homelessness, through hunger, through uncertainty, and not knowing about the future, all you can hope for is that they come out knowing that you did everything that you could for ’em. There’s been many times when I have felt trapped. Today I feel real uncertain and I feel dark because that eviction notice, the eviction notice is in my purse, and it sits there like a brick or maybe like a bomb, just waiting to go off and destroy my life.

I’m really worried about that. I don’t want my child to say to his friends at school that we’ve moved. And you know what? He’s not gonna tell him. We moved to the cute little house that’s been for sale for a year. He’s going to say, we’re staying at the shelter. Right now I am as valuable as anybody else on this planet. There’s hope. The reason I’m not on welfare and the reason that I don’t get food stamps is because I know that I’m gonna be able to shake this. This is not my life. This is not me. This is temporary. And someday I’m not gonna have to worry about these kinds of things.

[Outro Music]

Host: This is a weekly podcast, deeply personal stories about the experience of hunger and resilience. These narratives are about not forgetting, about understanding. What does it feel like to be that person? We were thankful for Abigail’s courageous voice, her remarkable determination to move forward in her presence. May something in Abigail’s story stay with you. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for portraits and transcripts. Every person, every place is a map to somewhere else.