The four of them were sitting at the kitchen table eating the last meal of the day. She didn't want to eat. The mother and father were raising their voices in anger and she was the target. Her older brother had witnessed this scene many times and he chewed his food quickly and pretended he was invisible.
She was eight years old. The stress and turmoil that she lived with was a secret. She and her brother did not talk about it to each other and knew instinctively not to share any of their private home life with outsiders.
Meals were not happy times. So sitting still and eating the food put in front of her was difficult for her. Her stomach made noises. If she accidentally belched she would be knocked out of her chair. So she maintained a rigid back and tried to eat small amounts.
When the mother and father were ready to leave the table, they told the brother to go to his room. Their parting words to her as they left the kitchen were "You eat all your food. You are going to sit here until you do, even if it takes all night." That was not new to her. She had heard those same words many times in her young life.
Hour after hour she sat on her chair and daydreamed until she became sleepy. She could hear her brother going to bed for the night. She heard her mother go into the bathroom to prepare for bed and her father was in the living room watching television.
She scooped the food into her paper napkin, ran from the kitchen out the back door past the patio and hid the napkin of food and ran back to the kitchen. When her mother came into the kitchen to check on her, she coincidentally ate the last fork of food.