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Basil Tabula was the type of girl who would stand in front of vending machines for hours. She would stand, her head cocked lightly to one side, as if it was pulled there by some magnetic force grappling at her shoulder, and ponder.
Savory tastes of cheddar and butter basked in her mouth, rolling around in their salty goodness and giving her an aftertaste that made her hunger for more. She wanted chips. Chips would be nice. But she couldn’t get chips because chips had three million grams of fat in them and she enjoyed being able to see over her toes.
She sighed, disappointed at the loss of the taste of the salty cheddar butter love and further looked at the vending machine. A package of brightly colored yellows and blues caught her eyes. Fruit snacks. She closed her eyes feeling the delicious fruit as it absorbed into her taste buds, crowded around the crevices in her teeth. Sand clouded her vision, she could feel the sand in between her toes, sinking into her heels and exfoliating her skin. The sky was bluer than blue and the ocean was a crisp clear teal so stunning and awing she wanted to roll around in it and soak it up until she radiated the same luminosity.
“What are you doing?” he would ask, using his favorite disdainful voice to demean her and reprimand her.
“Just floating,” she would sigh blissfully. He would shake his head disapprovingly but accept the fact that she was constantly disappointing him.
“You need to come clean this cabin, it’s getting dirty and disgusting and you’re always tracking dirt into it and this is your job you’re such a bad—”
No, she would not be having fruit snacks.
Mmmmm. The familiar and favorite sight of the yellow peanut m&m’s bag caught her eye.
Peanuts embedded in chocolate with a nice colorful crunchy outside. Things were always different on the outside. They appeared wholesome, of one color, one brilliant and beautiful character.
“You always look so drab; I don’t want to be surrounded by such a depressed creature. I mean couldn’t you look goddamn happy for once in your life—”
Maybe Cheez-it’s would be better. Yes, Cheez-it’s would be much better. She sighed as she stared at the red bag with its unusually large orange cheez-it on the cover that made her mouth salivate like Pavlov’s dog. Maybe I’ll get these, she thought. Placing her hands on her hips and tilting them to one side she pondered them further as if they were a specimen under her greatest speculation and care.
She inserted the money with shaky hands. When she went to press the black rounded buttons with the bubble white writing on them, she found she couldn’t. Her fingers refused to press into the buttons. What if this is wrong? She thought. What if I’m making the wrong decision? She ran her fingers quickly through her long blond hair, watching herself in the glossy reflection of the snack machine.
She looked so timid, so diffident. ‘Basil Tabula shows signs of
“Why do you always look so depressed? I mean I work all day, just so that I can come home to this…this… ugly pale face that used to be bubbly and sparkly. And now what? Your just this piece of—”
Basil leaned down and picked up a HERSHEY’s with almonds wrapper. The chocolate smeared to the white inside, clinging like freshly made bruises to the translucent skin.
She subconsciously rubbed her bony pale arm, pulling it up against her stomach, and wrapping it around her waist.
Nervously regarding the vending machine, Basil felt a stream of dread pool into her stomach. It sat there, like acidic waste radiating out of her body, spreading its vile poison. Too many choices. Too many colors. Too many possible combinations that could just be wrong.
She had always been attracted to them, strayed to the warm arms of an unfinished painting looking for someone to blame for its utter shapelessness. She was a fluid, a gas, made to take up the space of the container it’s forced into. But she wasn’t forced. She went willingly, arm and arm, hand and hand with her plastic walls that pushed and prodded her.
They fit always. He made walls and she molded to them, pressing her body up against them until there was nowhere else to run. Trapped within her world of false utterances and fake apologizes.
She traveled, jumping from crystal blue vases with rotten flowers to green speckled tea mugs, hoping, with her infallible might that she might one day, find the open ocean.