During dinner one night, I watched Diego try very hard to be discreet as he shoved some of the food from his plate into the cloth napkin on his lap.
I made sure to look away just before he glanced around to make sure nobody had seen him.
This wasn’t the first time.
At first, I thought maybe he was just saving it for later.
But Diego hardly had an appetite these days, so that didn’t quite make sense.
He must have been saving it for something else.
Usually, although I was curious, I let it go.
But it was starting to worry me. He wasn’t eating his food and I wanted to know why.
I kept an eye on him throughout that evening but he acted completely normal, and I didn’t see where he’d put the napkin.
It wasn’t until later that night, after everyone was far past settled for bed, that I caught Diego sneaking out of his bedroom on my way back from the bathroom.
It wasn’t necessarily an abnormal occurance, until I saw the napkin clutched tightly to his chest.
‘What’re you doing?’ I whispered.
Diego stared at me like a deer in headlights and I could quite literally see him trying to come up with an appropriate excuse.
His shoulders drooped and he sighed, 'Fine. Come on. But don’t you dare tell anyone. Okay?’
'Do you swear?’
'On Mom’s life?’
'On Mom’s life,’ I rolled my eyes.
He led me to the front door, looking down the hall before he turned the lock and opened it.
I followed him outside into the warm, Spring night and I remember the way his face instantly lit up. It was like someone flipped a switch, I’d never seen him look so utterly happy.
Sitting behind the iron gate was a scruffy, dirty mop of a dog.
When it saw him, the dog’s tail began to wag wildly.
'Hey, boy, I brought you some food,’ Diego said softly as he kneeled in front of the gate, unfolding the napkin and feeding the dog the scraps from earlier out of his hands.
My heart squeezed painfully in my chest and I was truly at a loss for words.
Despite how harsh and cruel the world had been to Diego Hargreeves, he would always do everything he could to help others.
Even if it meant giving the food off of his plate.
He’s a good man.
Despite it all.
- Vanya Hargreeves, excerpts from Extra Ordinary: My Life as Number Seven