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I’ve Lost My Appetite

After ten minutes of sitting at this table, at this dreadful diner, with her, I suddenly realized that I’d lost my appetite.

“When did you last have your appetite?” she asked.

“At breakfast,” I answered confidently. “I last noticed it during my second helping of scrambled eggs.”

She continued to quiz me on its whereabouts. Had I left it on the breakfast table or on the nightstand during my midmorning nap? Did I have it when she phoned and asked to meet me for lunch? Could it have run off during my walk to the restaurant, or maybe I had set it down when I went to the restroom to piss five minutes ago.

Yes, she continued to quiz me, but I knew two things very clearly. Number 1: she didn’t care about where my appetite had gone (the selfish bitch), she was just avoiding the inevitable conversation which was coming- the words that had hung in the air, vibrating, ever since she said her first words, just waiting for their opportunity to dive in for the kill. Number 2: I knew exactly when my appetite had made its exit. It was directly after the first sentence out of her dainty little mouth that my appetite left. It heard the words and it panicked, ran for the hills, for safety. My cowardly appetite. Would that I could have absconded with it.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing is certain: break a man’s heart, and the stomach knows, the stomach is the first thing to understand. When my stomach screamed, my appetite saw its opportunity and escaped through the gaping hole.

She was starting on her speech now, her little treatise on our failings as a couple. But as I already knew what was coming her shrill voice just seemed to fade away. I thought about my refrigerator. The damn thing was packed with the fruits and vegetables of my labor, with milk, yogurt and cheese, with Diet Coke and Coors Light, with salad dressing and applesauce. What a sorry waste. All that food and I had lost my appetite. And it would be several days at least before it returned, of this I was convinced. It was out there cavorting with other runaway appetites, exchanging stories of death and depression, of anorexia and cancer. It was telling the other appetites of my humiliation at the hands of this woman.

“Are you even listening to me?” she asked.

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