FRESH YARN presents:
was sitting with my pop in this coffee shop watching him eat French toast.
Today I am sitting alone in the coffee shop. The waitress has just placed my piping hot shelf of French toast down before me and I cut into the glistening slices with the abandon of a six-year-old. Placing the steaming morsels into my mouth I feel like I've landed in a poppy field. With every delivery I experience an ethereal sort of ecstasy; every taste is perfection: the eggs have soaked the bread tenderly; the butter and egg have merged into delicately fried glaze; the syrup has melted into the toast's pores creating a complete harmony of flavor. The sliced strawberries on top-inexplicably right. Everything blends, the unification of opposites, perfection: sweet and savory, firm and soft, light and heavy, piping warm deliciousness. The syrupy French toast melts over my tongue, oozes into my taste buds, careens into my senses and hits my brain like a fast dose of dopamine. I am transported, I am beside myself. My pace quickens, I shovel quicker, I cannot get it through fast enough. I am almost frenzied. I am practically inhaling my French toast now. I am in a whirl of delight. I am one with my toast. I am toasted.
Then suddenly the pleasure shifts. With each moist bite, a creepy self-loathing seeps in. I am weighted by worry, anxiety, shame. I am no longer thinking about the golden deliciousness that is my French toast. I am no longer analyzing the complex brilliance of its texture and taste. I am now wondering what's wrong with me. What does it mean that for the past three weeks I've woken up each morning with a compulsion for French toast? Is this my father's fault? Is it the power of suggestion? Is it in the genes? Should I tell him? Share my disgrace? I keep shoveling and with each new mouthful I wonder: Will he look at me? Estimate my fleshy body? Will he consider my fame up and down and pointedly remind me how delicious the oatmeal was that morning in April; how better people make better choices; how real women don't eat like men, don't eat things that make them fat; don't eat a whole plate of French toast? A bite or two maybe. A half-order. But a whole plate? No. Never. No way. I push another bite through the syrup, stab a strawberry and plunk it in my mouth. I chew rapidly, swallow guiltily. Jesus, what kind of slovenly pig have I become? How did this happen? Where did I get this amnesia? How could I have forgotten the horror of the scale this morning? I imagine the day when I'll have to shop in the Fat Ladies store, wear a muumuu, stop climbing steps, get knee replacements. I take another bite. I must switch medication, up the medication, get more serotonin, get more sleep, and lay off the red wine. What's wrong with me? Am I falling into a depression? Why do I need this white bread, this egg coating, this syrup? Why am I ravenous for these carbs! This sugar! This poison! Am I going insane? Is there something I haven't told someone? Am I overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? Avoiding? What is it? What am I avoiding? Am I a train wreck? Am I a slob? Why don't I get off my lazy ass and exercise? I have to go home and walk the dog. I'll walk the dog up the hill. Straight up the hill. I'll walk the dog four pieces of French toast worth. Man, oh man, get a grip, start again tomorrow. How could you have let yourself become such a groveling slave to French toast? It's just French toast for fuck's sake! Get your fat ass out of this coffee shop and start that fucking script!
I wipe the syrup from my mouth and push the empty plate away. Has anyone paid attention to the time? Has the 94-pound waitress considered that I sat down at this table less than 20 minutes ago and that I am now completely done with my breakfast? Does everyone around me know that I've sat down, ordered, been served and eaten my stack of French toast in the time it's taken them to read the menu? Is there a collective pity around me? An avoidance of eye contact? An impossible sadness over my condition?
have just completed week one of the South Beach diet.
I know Father's Day is coming up. Maybe I'll call my pop and see if he wants to meet up at the Coffee Shop. Maybe he'll order the French toast. Maybe he'll ask me to share it. Will I decline? Should I? Should I tell him my story? Should I tell him he set a bad example; tempted me; turned me on; got me hooked, drove me to it? Or should I say nothing and order my bald eggs. Probably. That's what I should do. My dad should enjoy that French toast. He should relish the bounty of every gorgeous bite. Why sully his pleasure with my pain? Why suppose my vice is his vise? Why worry about his waistline, his cholesterol, his years left on this earth? Why not enjoy these moments together? Focus on what's good? Focus on what I love about him? Like the way he eats his French toast. The way he enjoys it so. Why not put the critic away? Take the kinder-gentler route. The kinder-gentler route. The kinder-gentler route. I guess if I took the kinder-gentler route with him, I could use it on me. Maybe that's the ticket. Maybe I'll just have a bite. Maybe two. Maybe I'll even split it. Not quite ashamed. Just kind of like a cheater. Just kind of like him.
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