Peer Review by AbigailSauble (United States)

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Trays

By: RedWriter


    My aunt and I pull out of the side road again, after making a full circle and very nearly missing the turn. I laugh and she does too as we enter the long strip of highway. I like these trips, even if it my first time. It's so green outside, I remember, as we drive past many fields and begin to take more and more backroads, which thrill me- in all the years I have lived here, I've never been so many ways, to see so many places within our small county, so near my home.
    We stopped at a lot of places before we went to the man's home. Pulling the car out and narrowly avoiding a speedy driver, we continued through the yellow flowered fields and past the cemetery. I watched out the window and read the names, and then face the extremely steep hill where we might have just stopped the car and let gravity drag us down. But instead, my aunt took care to slowly rumble down and turn us into a grassy yard with bits of gravel sprinkled in between, abandoned by the firm asphalt of it's counterpart, the road. A large white house with a dark roof stood starkly on the plateau-like hill. With a rickety ramp leading up to the nearest door, the smaller part of the house waited, no chimes to play with or ornaments. 
    I turned to my aunt and she said I could do this one. I'd never been here before of course, so I wasn't sure of what to expect. Some of the houses we had visited didn't answer, so we left the food at the door, and some did, and they were very thankful. Inside of the take-out boxes we had piled in the back were meals. They told us how many they wanted - two, three, four. The meals changed every month, and yet people still wanted them. Some of the people were older, some were younger. But they all needed this, once a month.
    I remember a lot of them, but this one I think will stay with me for the rest of my life. After I got out of the car, I walked around and got the bag with the boxes of food out from the backseat. Then, I went up the ramp-like porch, noticing how it was built for wheelchairs. I knocked on the door with my free hand and waited while a inside the screen-like door a woman hurried to answer.
    She had blue eyes and wispy brown hair, tied up but with a few loose strands that the wind pulled at. Behind her was a dark room, but I think there was a door to the side where someone had entered. In the corner of the room, there was a figure, lying on a bed and despite the darkness, I could instantly tell it was an older man. I couldn't see him in the dimness of the room, but he seemed in pain, hurting. The woman must have been older like he was, and yet she seemed... younger. In the way that pain makes everyone seem. The lines in her face were traced with sorrow. I said, "I brought the food."
   She had tears in her eyes already, but they seemed for me as well, tears of thanks. I was shocked - I hadn't anticipated this scene. Not in any of the ones I had delivered so far had I seen something like this. "Thank you," she told me, with so much sincerity that it rang in my mind. She may have said something else, I don't remember, because I was still numb with the feeling, the overpowering feeling, of this small place so close to home, and yet with so many different problems. I handed it to her and walked to the car.
    I went on and asked my aunt about them. She told me he had health problems and they were not improving. I think I may have asked if the woman was his wife of how she related to him, or maybe I had not - but one way or another my aunt told me that they were not married.
    I didn't judge her. I don't think I had enough judgment left in me at that moment to judge anyone in that room. I just nodded, I think. It wasn't happiness I felt exactly, about delivering to them, or pride either, but I felt grateful. Grateful I had brought it to them.
    How did this change anything, a single tray of food? For some, it might not have changed a thing. But for others, I know it did. People in my community needed this. Some people needed food. We all understand the language of needing food even if we have not gone hungry because we all know someone somewhere who has. Or maybe they even looked forward to the delivery of the trays more than the food. Maybe the fact that people would drive out to their house to simply give a tray was what they really needed in their life - to know that people still cared about them, to know that people were still good.
    And isn't that the best kind of change? Simply to give and remind people that they matter and that we are all capable of being good and, to myself included, how good people as a whole are? This change does not have to come from the wealthy, poor, women, men, or any other boundary that somehow separates us from one another. This change is made according to none of those things – only by your heart, and the hearts of others. You will find that the heart is at the base of all change. And while I was making a change, I was changed by the very people who I was changing. All with the help of heart, courage, and a single load of Styrofoam trays.


Message to Readers

Thanks Kate!


Peer Review

The beautiful subject matter! Honestly, it's hard to really get me to read something that isn't super exciting, but you wrote this so well, that I was just pulled along by your descriptions. :)


Absolutely! Doing something so simple, something that you may not think makes much of a difference, can really touch someone, and in so doing, change your heart, your life, and your perspective. It's a powerful message that really needs to be shared in this modern world. :)
'A little can do so much.'


In the beginning you had many scenes, and a little bit of background as to the 'why' this duo were doing this. Then in the second half, you have the reflection. Which was perfect because it leaves the reader with a thought. :)


Absolutely. To think that one 'styrofoam tray' can help someone, and change your perspective on the world. Wow. Great job! I feel inspired. :)


KEEP UP THE FANTASTIC WORK!! If you don't get some award in this competition, well.....you have been cheated. Really, you have done a great job! Even if you don't win, know that you have touched my heart, and anyone else who reads this. :)


Reviewer Comments

It's hard to say something that I haven't already said about this. It was completely fabulous.
Don't stop writing! God bless!