When I think about how hungry I thought I was that day, after having missed just one meal, I feel ashamed. Because I never once worried about the hunger Sookie must have felt when—day after day, week after week—her mother failed to return.
While her mother was in the Monkey House, I still saw Sookie every day, but somehow I learned not to see her as well. It was difficult, at first, to pretend that things were normal for her. Then, perhaps because pretending so relentlessly begins to blur the distinction between invention and reality, it became easy to believe things were normal. Practice formed a new pattern, a new way of seeing.
In avoiding her mother’s absence, I became adept at ignoring the obvious regarding Sookie. I stopped noticing how pale and gaunt she became, how circles blackened her eyes, how her hair—wild and uncombed—inched past the approved school length. I forgot what she was supposed to look like.
“We might be accused of being a tad pessimistic. In fact, that is not entirely true, because while we do believe that we could, at any moment, lose our incomes and end up destitute, we also believe in ourselves enough to be confident that our jobs are not our only source of support. And that attitude is, ultimately, what led us to our current lifestyle. Seeing what was happening, we decided to not allow circumstance to force us into a situation where we might have to make that very difficult decision between feeding ourselves and having a place to live.”
“When the people up in the castle saw what had happened, they began to cheer. Without the Nasty Knight, they were once again free!…From that day on, Nick made sure that at last his poor mother and his family had enough to eat every day.”
“They were miserable and hungry and helpless. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was miserable, hungry, and helpless who was not also petty and selfish. The situation brings out the worst in everyone.“
–Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles Book 4) by Robin Hobb