#144 She Swallows Everything

by Joann Keder

Her mother took her to see the crazy grandmother in the hospital, and they stayed with a nice lady. The nice lady was sweet and comforting, so The Girl ate her too-sweet rhubarb mush without complaining. When her mother brought home the new baby, she swallowed the orange baby food in the refrigerator. Later on, it was the baby hot dogs meant for the angelic and special growing boy.

When The Girl was no longer important, she took the secret cookies and put them in her own hiding place. It was much easier to eat them where it was dark and she was alone. It didn’t matter that she got in trouble later; they filled the big, empty space.

While she was a teenager, she learned to keep the food away. She swallowed air and light, puffing her up on the inside every time she looked in the mirror and saw her shrinking body. She liked the feel of her bones against her loose clothing.

Then the Special Boy died, and for awhile she swallowed sadness. Eventually, she needed food once more. She consumed like it was oxygen, until her tiny body ballooned.

She had her own children, and despite her giving all that she could, they grew up angry. She swallowed resentment and frustration. After all of the years of swallowing, she began to erupt. The colors of love and hate, life and not living burst from her like a geyser. She was open, wondrous and raw.


JRVogt said...

Interesting way to show the emotional connection to food and how it can define someone. Quite vivid.

Amy said...

Very insightful, very sad.