Saturday, November 1, 2008

Will you wait for me to get there?


Vivienne hangs her hand over the counter and sighs, and I pull the paper cup my way, intending to fill it with water. I'll probably have more than six cups of water before I leave. Vivienne's eyes look like shovels and I can already feel them digging into me. I haven't even had a chance to try to figure out how to erase this night from my memory yet. But I'm just so hungry. Before school this morning I pulled a paper plate out of the trash bag in the kitchen because I knew there was dried cheddar cheese and maybe some dried out sausages left on it from a microwave meal I couldn't finish because my father was throwing shit like chairs and lamps around the house again and that meant we all had to go to bed. At seven in the morning it tasted just fine, the plasticine cheese and the hard sausage bits. Even through the minty toothpaste taste in my mouth, it was good.

And now I owe Vivienne something. I hate owing people. It takes the whole lunch hour to raise money for a bag of chips by being silly and pretending like asking for change is just a fun thing to do for a soda while waiting for the school bus. The truth was, the school bus could never come late enough. Being at school at the bus port was easy. Being at home with that fucking tornado tossing my whole family around was what was really hard.

"Thanks, Vivienne," I say, honestly grateful for the food I'm taking but embarrassed beyond measure. Without her I wouldn't be able to find food tonight. It makes me mad.

At the other side of the counter the greasy kid with his shirt half-way untucked hands me a packed bag full of enough burgers and fries to last me for days, and he winks. It's not just food enough for tonight, but enough to give to my brothers back home. This could last me for days if I keep it to myself. Blankly, I accept the bag of food and nod, but I'm not responding to him in the way he thinks I am. When he nods back and smiles I know he's fallen for it, and in my heart I sincerely wish for his death.

I look over at Vivienne and wish she were dead too.

The to-go bag is so heavy with food that it brings tears to my eyes and I resent being so poor that this shit food can change my life. A hamburger and some fries. But it does change my life, and I want to kill everyone here for letting this be so easy. I look over at Vivienne, who hasn't taken her eyes off me for a second. What is she thinking? Her father bought her a new car, and as long as she maintains this braindead job, he'll continue to pay for the insurance on it too.

I look down at this bag of food and I feel like there's some kind of great canyon in my life that needs to be filled with something tangible right now before I eat all this food out in the parking lot so that I don't come back in and kill all of these fucking people.


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