Friday, February 08, 2008

Well, since I don't have any really good FP's at this time, it being the long shanks of the month and ramen noodle time--I decided to write stories about food this month--or at least stories that have to do with eating, attitudes about food and such.

Anyway, in other news, the little cocker spaniel I was helping to place did indeed get adopted today. I'm just thrilled, especially since he was so adorable that had he had come here, it would have broken my heart to adopt him out. So, Mr. Rocky is going to a fine home. I appreciate Dr. Hood and the wonderful volunteers at the Newport Animal Shelter giving me a crack at finding a placement for him.

There was a most impressive police report story I wanted to share with you concerning an attack using a vacuum cleaner as a weapon. The victim used a piece of statuary to fend it off. The Newport Plaintalk is evidently moving to their own domain and I can't find the story. Hopefully once they get settled we can all get back into reading Caleb Abramson's excellent sheriff and police report coverage.

Today there was a headline titled: Busty move by alleged light thief. Yet another vicious brassiere and flashlight robbery. One funny thing is they now refer to the Walmart in the paper as "a supercenter off the Cosby Highway". Like we don't know the Walmart is the supercenter off the Cosby Highway where all the teenagers hang out in the parking lot across from where the TBI torches the pot plants. What's up with that? They name every other private civilian victimized by crime and gives their address. Why does Walmart get a pass?

I'm just sayin'--if you are going to name the victims of crimes and include their home addresses (including certain local bloggers with stolen goats who are the target of death threats)--then giving Walmart anonymity seems journalisticallyexpialidocious
--and not in a good way.

Today's story is about:

Alice's Table


Before she took me home to meet her family, I was a stray. All her friends were strays. All of us walked wounded through our lives, looking for a place of belonging. A place called home, or something like it. Some of us had homes, perfectly good ones, but were greedy. I was the greedy one.

I looked normal, at least. One friend's leg dragged behind her like a dog rebelling against a leash. Every once in a while, she reached back to haul the damn thing level with the rest of her body, like a piece of luggage caught on an escalator. Another wore coke bottle glasses behind which, one eye--magnified to the size of a tennis ball--wandered around aimlessly. I never knew which eye to look at, so I looked at her nose. The third friend, looked normalish, except for the cut off dungarees she wore, revealing ass cheeks determined to escape into the world. When she spoke, a man's voice emerged like bad dubbing on a Japanese horror movie.

She took the oddball friends home to meet her mother, Alice, and her sisters once--all three at the same time.

Never, ever bring those three home again, they said, at least at the same time. Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph--we aren't auditioning Macbeth here.

She sensed my woundedness.

My day started at six-thirty with two hundred crunches. After a breakfast of popcorn moistened with a half cup of skim milk, I rode my bike five miles to the gym where I took one of my five times weekly ballet classes. I drank Diet Pepsi, the good kind before they took the saccharine out, throughout the day. After attending the rest of my classes, I swam for a mile before riding my bike home. I ate half a cabbage, stir-fried in water for dinner and as much popcorn as I wished.

Sometimes, I got hungry. So hungry, I had to eat something, and that was okay if I threw it back up. Ice cream was good, coming back cool and soothing. It was my favorite food to throw up.

She prepared her family for my visit, telling them I did not eat. A large ethnic family of twelve souls, they marched as an army on their stomachs. They owned a deli, celebrating birth, death, sorrow and joy with food. Alice's kitchen pulsed with life--TV blaring the news, the easy chair she dozed in simmering sauces through the night, meat slicers, spice racks--it smelled of sustenance, both physical and spiritual. Her ankles were thick in the way of women who not only bore their children, but carried them and the world for miles on broad patient shoulders.

Sitting at Alice's table without eating was not an option.

She offered me a drink as I walked in the door.

Can I get you a coke or some iced tea, she asked.

No, thank you, I told her, some water would be fine.

I sat at Alice's table and a bubbling fountain coke appeared before me. I stared at it in horror, knowing it had sugar.

Alice watched me, sharp black eyes daring me to refuse.

I drank, feeling the sharp bubbles, iced in sweetness fill my throat.

She offered me food, saying, can I get you a salad? Some cheese? I think we have some kibi, or a sandwich.

No, thank you, I said, I couldn't possibly eat anything.

My friend, the collector of weird sisters, piped up saying, I told you she doesn't eat, Mom.

The gauntlet was well and truly thrown.

Alice piled salads, dripping with olive oil and feta, kibi with pine nuts, stuffed squash with rice and cinnamon beef, pastrami sandwiches smeared with mayonnaise, baklava and pistachios in front of me, daring me to refuse.

I ate more than Alice's food at her table. I ate acceptance. I tasted love. It would be years before I left the hinterlands of starvation, but I took the first steps of that journey at Alice's table.

It was delicious.

1 Comment:

  1. Jo said...
    Someone probably got a walmart gift card....what do you think?

    I went in to pick up a Rx the other day and passed a self full of clearance items. Anchor hocking 9x13 baking dishes. $4.00 each. I picked them up to see if Anchor Hocking has moved to China too and was shocked to see "Made In USA" on the bottom. Evidently they are on clearance to make room for more Chinese crap.

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