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Saturday, 20 May 2006

Alone

A woman can't live on bread alone. Nor can she survive without a lava lamp, a Japanese teapot, and Billy Holiday on CD.

Yet on a daily basis, Chloe didn't make time for these frivolities. She listened to books on tape to save time, took fast showers so she'd get to work early, and her aroma beads grew stale on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet.

Dreams are free, drifted through her mind on the drive to Huntsville Elementary. Dreams didn't require Hep A shots, or fat wallets, or condoms for that matter. Dreams kept her alive. Without them, her soul would surely wither and die.

Teachers don't meet many men above the age of twelve. The ones who show up for parent-teacher conferences are married. And male coworkers either had significant others attached at the hip or were too young to consider.

Her best years had bypassed her entirely. They skipped town on a Greyhound and never sent postcards. They were probably shacked up with the daydreams of the wealthy and carefree.

She passed a coffee shop and longed to stop. Every day she tasted a Chai tea in her mind. But her wallet stayed fused. Money paid for three things: the mortgage, the car, and the bills. Extra was a hard to come by as a good man.

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Destroying

She spent the days building the world and the nights destroying herself.

Food provided all that she required: nourishment, comfort, and the tool with which to kill herself, one bad calorie at a time.

Every day she awoke, dreaming of a healthy lifestyle. Today would be the day she would eat only salads and soups and curl up with a good book as a pat on the back for her achievement.

She started with breakfast, a couple of slices of toast, no margarine, and a hint of jam. A small victory.

All morning she worked. A phone call here, a spreadsheet there, one solid task after another.

For lunch, she ate a salad. Sure, she added a slice of lean turkey breast and indulged in salad dressing, but a metered portion, and the light variety. After, she slogged back two glasses of water to convince her stomach to move on. It worked.

The three o'clock snack cravings arrived but she resisted. Wait until dinner, and the rewards will pile up. She compromised by making dinner early, but a healthy one, with meatless chilli topped with yogurt not sour cream.

After dinner, she ran errands, staying well clear of the house and temptation. But upon her return, she crashed. First a nap snuck up on her. Then she awoke and realized she hadn't finished the dishes. They stood on the counter in the kitchen. Right beside the pantry where a bag of Doritos lived. They whispered in her ear. "We're here. We're yummy. Just eat a few."

Soon, the dishes forgotten, she inhaled the bag, munching harder and faster on the chips until she almost bit a finger. Another good day wasted, another disappointment.

Next trip to the grocery store, she would skip the chip aisle.