How do I take back the calendar
full of mistakes looking eerily back at me?
The echo in her mind chorused back and forth like it always had. Thought after thought. She bit her lip as she tried listening to his droning voice. Just more calories to her ears. Feeding her mind with unnecessary information. Fattening her whole world with more complications. She moved her fork from side to side on her plate trying to listen but also trying to drown out the memories taunting at her. Like somehow purging herself of them. Like throwing them up or flushing them away down the toilet. Just like everything else.
How do I unsay those words?
How do I un-breathe those sounds
and play it all back
and somehow delete it?
To most people life was a long menu of mistakes. Decisions not thought through. To Leah they were just empty calories. Each day was a meal she didn’t need. She glanced down at her phone as she pushed back her bangs. Breathing slowly she scanned the calendar. Just days after days. Feeding her. Feeding her uselessly. Life is just a long restaurant menu, isn’t it? And somehow she just wanted to take it all back. Undo those days. Take back those extra carbs or calories.
How do I make it not happen?
How do I erase those memories
like shredding a paper to morsels
or rip off that day
or rewind that hour?
And as Tzvi’s voice echoed in her mind, she slipped on the ring and tried smiling somehow while the sing song voice still played back and forth. The diamond glimmered on her finger. The smile on his face was almost like a little boy who got his hands on some ice cream. Ice cream. Just more fat and empty calories. Catching her reflection in the mirror on the dimly lit restaurant walls she saw herself feeling useless. Like calories she wanted to take back.
Where all prospects slipped from my palms
and everything crashed to the ground
and shattered to pieces.
But a few days later standing in the bathroom hovering over the sink the chorus was now a full blown orchestra. Like at a fancy dinner. Or at a big meal. Big calories. And she knew they all were waiting for her downstairs. But biting her lip she tried blocking it all out. How would she ever be good enough? That’s what the sing song teasing always reminded her. The blood was beginning to mix with her saliva. Pushing back a strand of her hair she bravely met her own eye in the mirror. Someone else stared back at her. Not the person she knew. Sucking her stomach in a little she thought how the feta cheese in her salad was just some extra fat. Why hadn’t she asked for the reduced fat dressing? And as she fed herself with the air she just wanted to get rid of it all. The teasing and taunting. The scales ticking. Treadmills running. She leaned over the toilet and didn’t hear the gentle knock. Her mind circled and pounded. Louder than the knocking. Louder than her logic. And calorie after calorie thrown up into the toilet swirling down away forever. Like the days of the calendar. Because each day just feeds you but you never digest it. You never needed the calories.
How do I make you forgive me
If I can’t take back the calendar?
And as she leaned back and sat down on the tiled floor, second after second ticked back and forth while the chorus finally started to mute. And the door slowly opened. And through the weak tears, dripping down her cheeks like the lace cookies on the platters downstairs, Leah’s eyes met his. Tzvi’s fingers slid from the door knob. He just stood in place. Like the cake she had left standing untouched.
So now how can you still not forgive me
and tell me it doesn’t matter to you
or that you think it’s over
while every second
guilt carves into my heart
and drop by drop erodes a valley too deep
till I’m cringing and wishing
that somehow I can’t un-dent the silver
Leah’s lips started to quiver. Her voice froze like the sorbet her mother had left in the freezer. She tried saying that it wasn’t what it looked like. She tried explaining. But breath after breath her chest just went up and down. Like the ounces on the scale. The soft hum of the rain falling outside filled up the silence. Like the stuffing in the knishes downstairs. The rain. Feeding the world. Dripping down calories.
or sweep up the glass
and put back the pieces
and take back the calendar.
Slowly Tzvi took a step back not taking his eyes off of her, shaking his head. Sadness frosted over his eyes. Like brownies. Slipping his hands into his pockets and shaking his head a last time, she caught his scared look before he walked away. He looked like he just ate way too many calories.Alti Bukalov