I’m just a man. Never asked more than my due.
I live in one of a dozen units surrounding a concrete courtyard. When I asked the landlord whether the brick oven in the center of the courtyard might not be used by one who wanted to try their hand at baking, he said it might.
And so I collected the very best in ingredients — dried fruits from the tropics and Ghanaian chocolate and Danish flour in woven sacks marked with pairs of silver and gold wings. Soon my unit was filled with immaculate bags of foodstuffs, and I was reluctant to ruin their pristine untouchedness.
But still, every night that oven drew my gaze.
And so, I cut open a bag of winged flour and took it outside only to find splashing rain that sent me dashing back in.
The opened sack of flour quickly began to rot, and the wings drooped.
A week later, I cut open a bag of berries and some more flour and hefted them, noticing that these bags felt heavier than the first.
Now some neighbours were in the courtyard socializing. One saw me and asked if I wasn’t about to bake them something. Saying of course not, I hid my ingredients away again.
And those too began to rot.
In a fit, I opened all the remaining bags at once. Only then, looking over them, my breath got away from me like a boat with a jammed throttle. Trying to heft a bag, I found it was too heavy to lift.
And though all the ingredients are rotting now, they remain precious.
I lay on the bed and stare at the decaying flour, which has turned the silver and gold wings a sickly yellowish-green.
And I find that even my own body is too heavy to lift now.