When I met L, he told me I was trapped inside of a Raymond Carver story. I read them all but still couldn’t find a way out. I clung to the belief that, by looking carefully enough, all of life’s answers were already written. I didn’t know yet that it was up to me to write my own way out. The same goes for you, in case you’re here searching.
Grief & Other Eating Disorders
I wake, grasping at the liminal sensation of running across ice-encrusted snow as a kid. My brother and cousins sink into the soft powder. I cross, joyfully unscathed. Because I am small. Because I never stop moving.
I rise, alone in a king sized bed, barely indenting it. The house is freezing.
I slowly dress and drive the hilly, sleet covered streets to a bank appointment that I don’t remember making. I prop myself up in a corner, and am startled by my reflection in the foyer glass. A medical skeleton, gaping at the tellers’ assured, bright motions. Her own unsteady hands clutching a red folder marked “Finances”.
“Hello! How are you today? I’m Lori, the loan officer. We spoke on the phone.” She is brunette, her face seems kind and worried. I shake her hand and consider the acceptable responses to stranger when you are starving yourself into madness. I am invincible and utterly broken. I am beyond all fucking reproach. “I’m OK. A bit tired.”
She leads me to a gray cubicle where I notice her name plate. Thank God, because I’ve already forgotten.
“I am not sure, yet, about anything, Mrs. Malone. I just want to understand my options. If I stay, alone…”
Lori smiles sympathetically as I pause to gather my thoughts. She knows a lot about me already. Small town divorce.
“What would mortgage rates look like… adjusted with a single income?”
She hands me a packet of detailed paperwork and launches into an in-depth explanation of the process. I am too distracted to follow her. The horrible “ALONE” I mumbled earlier flits about the room and alights on her name plate, shimmering.
M A L O N E.
“You have amazing credit. No matter what you decide to do, you are in a favorable financial situation.”
I imagine myself mummifying in that ice-cold cream colonial on the hill. Alone, sealed in and sacrificed in the fetal position. Future bankers would find me in-situ with this impeccable fucking credit score fully intact. And then what, Lori? Tears form in the corner of my eyes and I avoid her gaze.
Lori slides her card to me. I enter her number into my iPhone as Lori “The Lone Loan” Malone. I smirk, still teary-eyed. This is the closest I’ve come to laughing in months.
I shove the papers into my red “Finances” folder. “Thank you! Wonderful. I’ll look at this and give you a call in a few weeks. I need time to think this over.”
Lori walks me to the door, a motherly hand on my shoulder. “I have no idea if I would be able to hold it together so well if I were in your situation.”
I throw up a little in my mouth. It turns to a laugh, near the end, barely outstripping the pain.