Penny

Her brain tries to override the welling of nausea. She feels it in her feet, filling her legs before she realizes she can barely move. Weighted down and filling up, she tries to get comfortable because she’s trying to stay present, to present herself as pleasant. Ignoring how she feels, despite the sensation of churning and growing fullness in her stomach, she agrees to forcibly pretend to be hungry because it keeps her in social places with social graces.

She orders a drink, thinking the alcohol will soothe her stirring soul. She melts around the edges a little and small talk is less painful. Until her meal comes. She stares at her plate realizing she has created the circumstances for it sitting there. She has no appetite for food she doesn’t like nor need.

She uncrosses and crosses her legs to see if adjusting her position will adjust her attitude. She tries to stretch and shape herself into interest in the usual ways of the world. She knows she should just eat whatever she’s ordered but her stomach floats up into her throat. She excuses herself from the table.

Standing up feels good. Her body taking charge she nearly runs past the bar, scanning the room for the restroom sign. Her body charges through the dining room. She bumps into a party of 4 creating a traffic jam on her path to the bathroom. She covers her mouth with her left hand, pressing her lips to her teeth. Her right hand grabs the pen left on their table after signing for the check.

“I’m sorry.”

“Excuse me.”

She hits the bathroom and falls into a stall just in time. Words projectile vomit through her hand as she writes her life on the bathroom walls. Violent spasms of uncontrollable exposition. She writes everything in her until she is empty. Walls covered with her life. With what she really thinks and wants and knows. She writes it all.

Sweaty and relieved, she flushes, leaves the stall, washes her face and fixes her hair. She tries to wash out the pen marks on her shirt, puts on fresh lipstick and heads back out to her table.

“Penny for your thoughts?” she’s asked as she settles back into her chair and places the cloth napkin on her lap.

She smiles a little. Ravenous, she eats everything on her plate knowing she’ll never call him again.

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