Hungry Questions

The questions are hungry, and the answers aren’t done cooking yet.

“Just a little while longer,” the answers shout from the oven.

“But we’re hungry and want you now!” yell the questions from the kitchen table.

“If you eat us now, we’ll be soft, undercooked, and not desirable at all. We could even make you sick or cause you unbearable pain. Are you sure you can’t wait?” The response feels like a tease or a mocking gesture.

The questions look from one to the other, utensils in hand and napkins tucked in. They sit uncertain, their faces distorting into pained expressions as they imagine eating an undercooked answer. Finally, one question’s tummy rumbles, breaking the silence. Angry and impatient, it asks, “When will you be done?”

A wave of hisses and tiny whispers escape the oven as the answers converse. Eventually, they answer, “We’ll know when we know, and not before then. Believe you us, we don’t like it any more than you do, but a perfectly cooked answer is always worth the wait.”

The vexed question sits back and puts its utensils down, and the others follow suit. “I could sure go for some kind of answer right now, though,” says one question to another. “You’re telling me. Just a little something to take the edge off.”

Hearing this, the answer that has been cooking the least amount of time speaks out in its tiny, juvenile, and squeaky voice, “All it’ll do is make you want more.”

The questions ask in unison, “Why’s that?”

“You’ll start with one,” continues the young answer, “intentions pure, but once you’ve had one tiny answer, who can really stop? You’ll move from one to the next, never giving each enough time to become the answer they were meant to be. All you have to do is wait, and your hunger will be no more.”

The tiny answer goes quiet, and all the answers watch the questions with intense curiosity.

The questions look again from one to the other. The vexed question stares at the ground, locked in an intense internal battle.

Finally, the question at the head of the table announces, “We will wait.” The vexed question looks up, and in a fury, launches itself from the table and down the hall. The other questions watch him go and hear the slam of a door.

-Ding- goes the timer.

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