I wanted to post this during the Christian Lenten season, so now with a few minutes left to go I'm finally getting it up. I'm not dead, I swear. The end of Carol will be up shortly.
I wrote this as an inspirational little story to point out a few things that we all take for granted. Totally aside from family, education, ability to read, etc, we really don't see what we have. Just take a moment after reading this and appreciate something small. Because there are those that don't have what you have.
What You Have
Bakura sighed exasperatedly to himself as he stood at the sink scrubbing the remains of dinner off a plate. These dishes were so old. The designs around the edges were so pale and faded that they might as well have not been there at all. If Father would send a little more money perhaps we could get a new set. But he never sends that much…
/You're not feeling sorry over that,/ came a rough voice in the back of his mind.
/Look at these, yami, they're ancient,/ he replied. /Honestly, Father must have had them before he met my mother./
"You take too many things for granted, host." The spirit of the Millennium Ring materialized next to him, leaning on the counter and surveying the rest of the kitchen. "You don't see what you have."
"I see I've got old dishes and not enough money to replace them," Bakura muttered, fighting with the grease on the pan. Yami Bakura didn't look at him but stared unseeing through the walls and ceiling of the room.
"You've got a house," he stated flatly. "A single place to stay without fear of being caught or found out."
"Found out about what?" Bakura asked, but one look at his yami's eyes told him that the spirit wasn't really listening anymore.
"You've got a roof that doesn't leak in the rainstorms, and walls that keep out the wind. You don't have to eat, sleep, live all in the same room." He began to move silently across the floor. "You've got heating so you don't fry during the day and freeze at night. Everything is a generally comfortable temperature here. You don't have to be out in the blazing sun at noon, having it burn your skin, feeling the sweat pour down you until there's hardly a drop of moisture left in your body. You don't have to huddle by a fire all night, wrapped in a blanket to try to ward off the chill, shivering and unable to fall asleep from the cold."
He paused just a moment in front of the refrigerator, then resumed his pacing. "You've got the security of knowing where your next meal is coming from. You don't have to beg for food off the streets. You don't need to steal it from someone else; knowing the penalty for being caught is having your hand cut off. You don't eat each piece of bread like it might be your last, never being able to tell if you'll come across any more in the near future. You don't know what it's like to be truly hungry: to eat not one meal a day, but one meal every week. Sometimes one meal every two weeks, or less. You don't know the empty, gnawing feeling that comes from continuous hunger, the weakness and delirium of seeing something edible and not being able to eat it."
He trailed off, staring far away at something no one else could see. Bakura looked down at the plate he was drying and felt inexplicably guilty.
Yami Bakura blinked slowly and turned his head toward the living room. "You've got flooring," he murmured, testing it with his foot as if he'd never seen it before. "A nice, soft carpet to walk on. You don't trip on stones inside your house. You don't stand in the dirt, or walk in the mud each time it rains." He tapped the edge of the sofa. "You've got a couch and chairs: soft and cushy, all of them. You don't stand for twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours a day. And the furniture you have isn't rock hard and cold, or rough and full of splinters. There are pillows to prop you up at just the right height or to fall asleep on."
Bakura put the last glass back on the shelf and turned around to look at the spirit, but it didn't appear that the older boy was going to say anything more.
Bakura didn't know how – if at all – to respond to this. Unable to think of any kind of reply, he began to make his way upstairs to bed, acutely conscious of the carpet beneath his bare feet. Yami Bakura followed him silently.
As his host started to brush his teeth in the bathroom, the spirit gestured toward the medicine cabinet. "You've got that too," he said quietly. "You have pills to cure just about any illness now. You don't fear for your life every time you get a fever. Diseases that have wiped out thousands don't worry you because you've been vaccinated against them since infancy. If you break a bone, hospitals can mend it in a few weeks or a couple months. You don't remain a cripple for the rest of your life. You take a dose of some medication and suddenly there's no pain anymore." He moved back into the bedroom as Bakura pulled a nightshirt over his head.
"You've got a bed to sleep on at night, one that's soft and warm with fuzzy blankets. You don't have to sleep on the ground with the heat of your body seeping away into the earth. You don't have to use moss or even dirt as a blanket and wake up with a host of fleas in the morning. You don't toss and turn for hours trying to find a position where a rock isn't digging into your back or insect aren't crawling across your skin."
Bakura slipped under the covers and turned the light off, rolling over onto his side. For the first time in a long time he thoroughly enjoyed his lumpy old mattress. /That sounds awful,/ he murmured wholeheartedly.
/Mmm,/ was the reply.
/That you went through all that. I'm sorry./
/I never said I went through it./
/You don't have to say it./ Bakura let his body drift toward sleep. /I see what you mean, though,/ he thought drowsily. /I suppose there are people who would give anything for some of the things I have./
Without warning he retreated into his soul room, switching control of their body over to Yami Bakura. The spirit's confusion radiated across the mind link, but quickly subsided as the warm blankets settled him into a contented relaxation.
/If I have so much, I guess the least I can do is to share what I have with somebody else./
Go share something with somebody.