The tale of the hummus bowl

She sat by the pavement, tears forming rivulets as they made their way from her welling eyes. She clicked open her wallet, looking at two battered notes of 100 rupees each, damp to the touch. All was lost. Dusting herself as she got up, she wiped away the tears with a determined swipe. Her vision blurred as she tried to gather herself. 

Without saying a word, she reached the counter of the pharmacy and presented a prescription. 

The owner was sitting by his seat, dipping a piece of delicious looking pita bread into a bowl of creamy hummus. For a second, she forgot everything, her mouth Operating in silence, the pharmacist walked around his shop collecting the medicines. It took a good 10 minutes, as she waited patiently, her tears started flowing again as she sneaked a look at the price of the medicines, and the olives on the owners plate. She couldn’t afford either.

As he billed the items mechanically, he saw the counter splattered with tears. “I don’t have money, she said. My brother is in the hospital. Please trust me, I will come back and pay you by this evening.”

The pharmacist looked at her, devoid of any expressions. And then he looked at the owner.

Licking the hummus from his finger the owner spat hungrily, “Ok.”

Shocked at her luck, she ran across the road and into the hospital, her heart thumping urgently, happily, unbelievably. The day was saved, but she had to keep her word.

That evening, she went back to the pharmacy, shamefaced, with nothing to give. The owner sat at the same spot she had left him at. He looked up at her over his spectacles, not saying a word.

She hesitated, and slid a 2gm gold coin towards him on the counter, as she muttered:, “You can keep this, until I find the money. Thank you for your help today.”

The owner’s crooked teeth revealed themselves as he smiled, literally from ear to ear. “There will always be bad times, but there will also always be good people to see you through them, beta. Thank you, I will keep this safely, until you can pay me back. But first, I have something else for you.”

He opened the refrigerator stocked with aerated drinks and removed a polythene bag from the refrigerator. “This is for you. You must be hungry after all that running around.”

Looking into the bag, she saw a plastic container with the creamy goodness of hummus and a couple of zaatar spiced pita breads wrapped in foil paper. Her jaw dropped as she saw the care package, this absolute stranger had presented to her.

The tears began to well up again as she walked out of the pharmacy, her heart full of gratitude, and a plate full of love.

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