Free

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2011

Noor Adatia

Life was perfect as I ran into my aunt’s small and cozy apartment. My three-year-old brother and I stepped into the warm kitchen. As usual, we would plead with our aunt to hand us the frozen noodle packet, but this time it felt different. An unexplained aroma circled the apartment. Our task was to break the noodles into smaller pieces, as they first came in a brick. I carefully pulled the plastic bag and revealed a cream-colored brick. I snatched a light green bowl from the dining table, ready to start my work. My brother, two years younger than I, mimicked all the things I did as we sat on the white, messy floor. He followed my every move, eyeing my hands as I ground the hard brick into the shiny bowl. The crunchy sound echoed. It was magical.

Free family in the kitchen

I tried to reach the counter, but I was unsuccessful

Steam fired in the kitchen as my aunt prepared a delicious meal for my mom. A ray of sun poured into the room, lighting up the white walls and warming my back. It almost seemed as if the couch was enjoying it, too. Elegant animal decorations embroidered the brown pillow on the mahogany couch. Horses galloped across the pillow—for a second—but were only an illusion. I looked down to my tiny fingers and realized I had almost finished breaking the noodles. I tried to reach the counter, but I was unsuccessful. My aunt took the bowl away from me and filled the boiling bowl with the noodles. It was a great feeling as the warm steam touched my chin. The aroma filled my entire body. Some may think it was plain. Ordinary. But to me, it was a pleasure to gobble down that bowl of noodles, in front of the television, watching Dragon Tales. Its simplicity just filled me with delight. Indescribable.

I left the apartment, full of content, and skipped along the sidewalk. There was nothing to worry about. I was loved. I was happy. I was free. The world was a castle, and I was the princess. I headed forward. Life was moving on. And it still is, in a different way…

Free Noor Adatia

Noor Adatia, 11
Farmers Branch, Texas

Free Lydia Giangregorio

Lydia Giangregorio, 12
Gloucester, Massachusetts

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