CW: disordered eating
I’m sitting on a peak-hour train with pickle juice running down my wrists
and everyone is staring. It’s not what I’m doing, rather how I do it;
sucking every bit of melted cheese off the wrapping, between an elderly woman and a suit,
it probably looks pretty funny.
The smell of it will linger on my hands all night; on my mind even longer –
knuckles red raw. I’ll blame the winter but I go through two bottles of Dettol a week.
I go to food courts just to watch people shovel oily chow mein, and sweat under those ugly lights.
And when my mother declares eating in public to be a disgusting habit
I want to tell her that every afternoon on the way home,
I hide whole slabs of chocolate in my jacket pocket.
Breaking off jagged chunks at one-minute intervals, no – every thirty seconds, then less – hunched at the bus stop dribbling Cadbury,
just to give the street a proper show.
One time I got really high and paced the aisles of Coles for what felt like an hour,
picking things up and putting them back again.
Sat cross-legged in the carpark with a loaf of sandwich bread and fingerfuls of peanut butter.
My tongue was thick with it and I couldn’t stop laughing
and even when the pigeons closed in, I couldn’t stop laughing
You surprise me with a picnic, tell me you’ve packed four kinds of dip and an assortment of crackers
for us to make our own hor d’oeuvres.
How refined, I say, as I drop a Savoy spicy-capsicum-side down in the grass.
My hands are greasy but I hold yours anyway and
we fall asleep in the sun, and when I wake up there’s dip smeared across my cheek
and I realise, suddenly, that I don’t give a single fuck
Clara is a writer living in Melbourne. She draws inspiration by eavesdropping on public transport and from the dramatic content emerging from her weekly scheduled existential crises.