A Woman Eating Potato Chips in Chicago O’Hare Airport, Terminal C

September 30, 2008
Her jaw worked furiously
Crunching down on those salty discs
Jowls flapping with each noisy chomp

Crumbs tumbled out of the sides of her open mouth
Onto her breast and bulbous stomach
Contrasting with the hot pink weave of her cotton t-shirt

A child approached, one of hers
I gather from the child’s whine of, “Moom!”
As he tugged at her shirt

She barked him away and rolled her eyes
As she returned to the bright yellow foil package
The object of her desire

Her husband snores in the seat next to her
Their flight is called and she jabs him in the stomach
He wakes with a start and massages his skinny ribs

Sweat beads on his bald head
Matting his hair into sticky panels on the sides of his head
As he gives his wife a look of anguished regret

Their marriage is over
I know this as their children stop their games and stare
Wide-eyed and expecting the fighting to begin again

I watch in horror as the family boards their flight
The All-American family of today:
Divorced, remarried, divorced again

And I am afraid of becoming that woman
With her bag of chips and neglected family
Never to be happy again

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