Sitting at the dinner table I wait for my food to arrive. My husband walks in the apartment and sets up the food I prearranged for him to bring in front of me. He makes sure I have eating utensils and napkins, then let's me dig in. I finish my food over the course of 30 minutes. My husband clears my place as I empty Togo box after Togo box. He then grabs some food from the fridge for his dinner, finishes and cleans up in around 5 minutes. I stay seated and let my eyes wander around the room. They eventually find their way to the fireplace, as they always do. On the fireplace there is a ledge holding photos over twenty years old. I can see the outline of a family of four in two of the photos. There are two other photos containing mother-daughter and father-daughter pairs. In all the photos the girls are not older than 16 years old.
The sun finally sets, and I fall asleep in my chair. My husband wakes up for his job early in the morning he prepares pancakes and sets them with a bottle of syrup in front of me. He waits 30 minutes for me to finish eating, picks up the dishes, and places them in the dishwasher. He starts the dishwasher and then leaves to go to work. I sit there in content after eating my meal and fall asleep. My eyes focus on the fireplace when I wake up. I contemplate my past in each of those pictures.
I remember how fit she was always wanting to take her daughters’ hiking with her husband. But thinking too hard about that memory causes some distress. Tearing up I close my eyes and sit at the dinner table alone focusing on what I’ll have for dinner. My husband will bring me something nice, something that will make me feel better I gleefully think to myself. I’ll guess what it will be and eventually he will be back with something.
Let’s see. I think it might be fried chicken. No, it wouldn’t be fried chicken because that’s what I had yesterday. Maybe I’ll get some Chinese today. I haven’t had Chinese in a while. But I always get cranky after a few hours because Chinese food, even four of five dishes, does not leave me satisfied long enough. Maybe he will bring me some Mexican food. Mexican food tastes homey and takes me back to the days when the dining room was filled with more than two people. Thinking about food passes enough time but leaves me feeling empty.
Seemingly immobile, I sit facing the apartment door waiting in anticipation. Eventually, the door opens, and my husband comes in with multiple bags of food. I smell the air; he is holding bags of barbecue. He places the Togo boxes in front of me, one after another and gives me some silverware. I didn’t rearrange the order of the food I would be eating and began eating what was nearest me. The lights turn off and I didn’t care about them or anything else but the food in front of me. I eat ribs, brisket, mashed potatoes, green beans, poboys and other barbecue foods.
The food seems endless. Almost more than I could eat. Eventually, I finish, and I listen for him to grab his own food from the fridge in the dark but hear nothing. I feel very sleepy and go to sleep with the silverware in my hands. The lights are still out.
Light from the windows revealed that my husband hadn’t cleaned up the mess I made the next day. He did not make me breakfast. Frustrated by all the remnants of the food I ate yesterday surrounding me and my growing hunger, I try moving out of my seat to get away and find that I can’t get up. There are no signs of my husband’s presence.
On the table I see the bones from the barbecue. There are pork and beef ribs scattered around bones that were still connected to larger bones. I use all my strength to push away the bags and Togo boxes hiding the rest of the larger bones. My husband was lying head down on the table seated in the chair beside me. The large bones in front of me were from his arm and there was no meat left. I stare at him in shock and thought to myself how I could not notice I was eating him. Why did he not scream in pain from being eaten alive? While, I could not reach him to check a pulse or shake him to see if he would wake, I could tell he was pale.
Then, I finally noticed how moist my lap is. It had been tainted by his blood, draining from his arm.
I killed my husband. Worse I ate his arm. I didn’t know his arm was there. I couldn’t see him in the dark. Despite this awful situation, my mind flooded with thoughts of hunger, yet I couldn’t do anything for my rumbling stomach. Stuck in my seat at my dining table my head swept from side to side looking at my dead husband and the filthy food remnants surrounding me.
The fireplace caught my attention as always. Revolted by my actions, I escape into the story behind the pictures on the fireplace. My two girls and I run around the yard. My husband grills food on the porch.
I relived memory after memory of my daughters and husband for the last five days I had to live.
© 2019 C L Whisper