This is the kind of stuff I’m now cutting from the Moose manuscript. All things analytical are driving me to ctrl + X. I wonder if it’s the right decision. I’m also cutting out tangents… this is a part where a very thin coworker of mine asks me for her help. This is of course a flash-forward into my adult life. It just can’t fit because it throws the reader off the path and point I’m trying to make.
In the weeks that would follow, she’d ask me to grocery shop for her. “It’s just that Trey Beck is coming over, and you’re so good at all that domestic stuff.” And? “And, I don’t have time to do it all myself. I have to go out and buy plates.” Of course she didn’t own plates; she didn’t eat. Still, who doesn’t have plates? I blinked at her. “I have to put food in my cabinets, or he’ll think I’m a freak.” You are a freak. “Can’t you make me seem normal?” It would be a miracle at the 34th street supermarket.
I’d food shop for her apartment spending too much time analyzing. What exactly would corn flakes say about her? Wholesome, with an appreciation for the simpler things. I walked amid the colorful rows of food products looking for other statements. The red and navy canister of Quaker Oats declared that she had patience. Microwave popcorn: the girl appreciates technology. I added a pound of Bavarian old-fashioned pretzels to the shopping cart because girls are always snacking on pretzels. LornaDoone shortbread cookies. I paused. No, men like Mallomars. Impressive, he’d think upon seeing the yellow box. I bet she likes sports. I’d buy nothing low fat or low sugar. She wouldn’t want him to think she ever thought about her weight. Instead the goal was to wow him with her genes, a girl who can eat and still look like that! A six pack of Dr. Pepper and a tub of Jif and I was done.
I retraced my steps to the LornaDoones despite deciding on the Mallomars. Screw it. I began to fill the cart with everything I wanted. Pizza flavored Combos, potato skins, frozen miniature hotdogs, and a red bag of tater tots. A jar of Cheez Wiz. Tostidos. A half-gallon of Moose Tracks. A canister of Pringles. The cart brimmed with all the things I could never have. A tub of icing. Now we’re talking. A box of cake mix, no—not just cake mix. Mix with pudding in the batter. Ooh, what else? How extraordinarily freeing. Take that Dough Boy. Oh yes I can! How delicious to pretend I could be this free from food.
When I reached the checkout counter, I began to pick at my nails. People are going to think this is all for me. Well it’s no wonder, they’ll think as they eye my arm lard. What am I doing? Just look at yourself. You have no control. But she gets to. Yeah, but she doesn’t eat it. She just uses it as decoration. Go home to your husband, the one who thinks you’re too fat to fuck. I abandoned the cart in the checkout line, pretending to double back for a forgotten yet essential item. I left the store empty-handed.
I went home and filled my empty hands with folded slices of white pizza. I annihilated the pie and wondered how her date would go without the props that told the story of a life she didn’t live. I couldn’t continue to live like this. I too needed someone to make me normal.