by Daniel Garcia
It is 10:00. You are in Dr. Caneen’s English 2500 class and it is, thus far, your least favorite class of your major. You will never understand why you were required to take this course, instead of the intro to your concentration, which is Creative Writing, not Literary fucking Analysis. Regardless, she is lecturing today, but only part of you is listening, because you have a chicken biscuit in front of you, you have dipped it in barbecue sauce and, Christ, does it look divine.
You sink your teeth into it. Flavors explode across your mouth, sensory overload, absolutely intense. The term “foodgasm” is applicable here. You heave a silent sigh—chew—and close your eyes for a second—chew—and savor the warm heavenly mess of food in your mouth that God gave to you on this day. And swallow. And repeat the same process, alternating between the barbecue and ranch. A minute later, the biscuit is consumed completely, but it’s okay: God saw fit to give you two chicken biscuits because, let’s face it, two is always better than one.
And you ravage that second biscuit, all but inhaling it, choking it down, in utter bliss at how intense, how good it tastes, and for a brief second, there is only relief. You are normal, you are okay, safe, unafraid, and everything is alright again. Food is good, you are eating just for the sake of eating, there are no catch 22’s, and you feel, for the first time in a while, almost happy, and you toss back some water to offset the saltiness in your mouth, so you don’t get thirsty later.
But then the water and food hit your stomach, and suddenly you are full, and everything you felt a moment ago has vanished, and the horror sets in, because you have remembered that you are trying to kill the body, so you flounce out of Dr. Caneen’s class and race down to the bathroom, up to the fourth floor, your thighs rubbing shamefully together, and you fly into the bathroom, lock the stall, stuff two fingers in your mouth—because let’s face it, two are always better than one—as far as they’ll go, and you are hideous and spilling out of your skin and you are fat and the body has to be punished for always being too much, for being fat, and then it all rips through your throat, and splashes against your teeth, and then you spew ghosts and dead bodies and stomach acid into the toilet; chicken biscuit and ranch float in the water, the evidence of your desperation to be empty, and you shove your fingers in and out again, and more comes up and smacks the water, and you gagscream, and some of it ricochets off the water, and flies into your face, and you flush the toilet and clog your windpipe once more because you are determined to die, and determined to die of this. You’ll remember that in your frenzy, you left your toothpaste and toothbrush downstairs, in your backpack, along with your razor blades. And your laxatives.
Sometime after you fall off the merry-go-round, you stumble to the sink and grab both sides of the porcelain edges. The floor rises up to kiss your face. Your head lolls down, chin pressing into your chest, your grip on the sink the only thing anchoring you to this world. Your heart seizes as you crank your eyes up to the mirror, wondering what would happen if you let go. Your eyes feel like they’re going to explode. You wait—hope—for your heart to stop.
Except it doesn’t. Bile crusts your mouth like chewed-on lipstick. Food rolls down your arm. When your heart corrects its rhythm, you call upon your motor skills to turn the sink nozzle upwards. Water hisses, and after you’ve cleaned up, you glance back up at the mirror.
The image is clear: You don’t deserve to live. You deserve to be tortured.
And instead of choking down the sob rising through your battered throat, you turn away from the sink. And walk into the stall. And lock it behind you. And bend back over the toilet. And stick your fingers back into your throat. And don’t forget to make it hurt.
And it does.
Daniel Garcia is a poet and writer based out in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He is currently pursuing his degree in creative writing and goes to church frequently–and by church he means poetry slams. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Write About Now Poetry, SlamFind, SUGAR Magazine, Rathalla Review, Dragonfly Arts Magazine, and more. When he isn’t writing or slamming, Daniel can be found giving as many hugs as possible, living by the words “You are all that you have,” and falling off the edge of the Earth. He is the 2017 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) Head to Head Haiku Slam Champion.