Grief and Other Eating Disorders

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.   


“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.