March 19, 2008
By Emily Jenkins, Raleigh, NC

It’s sort of like the feeling you get from food. They call it comfort food because it makes you feel good. When you bite into a big juicy burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon, and ketchup, and then swallow that first bite, you sort of warm up inside and you feel happy. Or, when you’re lonely or sad and you pull out a carton of your favorite ice cream, Chubby Hubby, Chunky Monkey, Cookie Dough, or New York Super Fudge Chunk, and you take it to the couch and eat straight out of the carton with a big spoon, and you know that you’re still alone, but somehow Ben and Jerry being there with you makes it better and so you keep eating and when you’re finished you feel full, which is what you were missing before. You feel better. I kind of get that feeling with him. He’s like my comfort food.

When I get to school and I see him there, it’s like I’ve just glimpsed the big, golden arches and I know that something good is coming soon. You can see the sign, and you’re stomach starts to rumble. You’re Pavlov’s dog and your mouth gets all watery, and you can almost taste your McFlurry before you even get out of the car. And when you do finally get it, it’s perfect, beautiful, and that first bite is the sweetest thing you’ve had all day. Like that first glimpse of him, at his locker. If it’s a short glimpse, like a small McFlurry, it leaves you hungry for more, completely unsatisfied, but still happy.

And then the hard part comes. You’ve seen him once, but not enough, and you’re still hungry. Hungry quickly becomes ravenous. You can’t think about anything but that big, 16” pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage pie from Giovanni’s with thick mozzarella and cheddar bubbling up all around with a layer of oil and grease on top. You want it so badly, but you can’t have it. And so you try to fill up on other things. You eat chips, and cookies, and granola bars, and pudding cups, and mozzarella sticks, but you can’t get satiated. You know what you want, and so finally you decide to go and get it. You go to Giovanni’s. You get your 16” pie, and you eat the whole thing. And then you finally feel full, happy.

But with him it’s a little more complicated. He’s never alone. It’s like a pie eating contest or something, you know, where you get to eat your fill, but you can’t enjoy it quite as much because all those people are staring at you while you do it. It’s not the same as eating alone. If you eat alone, there’s no judgment. You try to wait long enough. You want to order it to go and take it back home and truly enjoy every bite. But sometimes when the to-go order is going to take an extra 30 minutes and you need your food right then, you cave and you have to dine-in instead.

So you walk up to him and you say hello. The bell on the diner’s door dings as you walk in. Are you going with anyone to the Sadie Hawkins dance? One extra-large slice of your best peanut-butter pie, please. I thought, maybe, you might like to go with me? A-la-mode. You watch him cut it. It’s a huge slice, creamy, with a chocolate crust and smooth peanut butter filling, served cold, with baseball of vanilla bean on top. Then, after what feels like hours, the guy behind the counter walks over with the most beautiful and delicious, mouth-watering, orgasmic dessert you’ve ever seen and hands it to this skinny, blonde, cheerleading b**ch beside you. Sorry, but he already has a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance: me. Besides, why would he ever want to go with a girl like you? Would you even fit in the limo? And she takes the pie, your pie, back to the table with her, carefully sets it down, pulls off a small piece with her fork, and then she eats it. She eats your pie. You follow her fork back and forth from pie to mouth, over and over and over and over. Then the man behind the counter hands you a different piece of pie. It’s smaller, the ice cream is melting, sliding off the side. You take it and sit down.

You take the first bite and feel it slide down your throat into your stomach and then further, through your thigh, and then land in your big fat a**. The second bite slides straight through to your massive jelly belly. The third to your chubby cheeks. The fourth, a** again. “Why would he ever want to go with a girl like you? Would you even fit in the limo?” You start to believe her. You are not good enough for her pie. You are not good enough for any pie. You’re fat. You’re a cow. You look down at the pie on your plate. The four huge holes in it that now make up the folds of fat all over you’re body. You put down your fork, and run. You run all the way to the bathroom, bolt the door, and turn on the water. You take a look in the mirror. You can already see those four bites. You go over to the toilet and jam you’re finger down your throat, because you’re not good enough.

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