Every time I see him, he asks me why I haven’t lost weight. I tell him that I am still fat, but he still runs his mouth. He talks about how my cousins are thin and look far more beautiful, and so do his sisters because they are models. I keep a smile on my face, but I am gripping the switchblade underneath the table. He tells me that they eat half of a boiled egg every morning on a bed of avocado with a dash of pepper while looking down judgingly at my plate of hash browns, bacon and eggs. I should show him the food reduced to mush in my mouth, but he will only use it against me later.
Later that night, we meet again around the table at our writer’s retreat dinner. I didn’t like the food on the menu, so I bought myself a curry. The deep red sauce spills across the plate like an ominous mass. His stare bores a hole in the back of my head. Why can’t he just mind his own business? Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean you have to use it.
“That stuff will clog up your arteries,” he says.
“Do you have to watch me eat? If you don’t like it, then sit somewhere else.”
“I’m only doing this out of care.”
“No, you’re not. Nice human beings know when to shut their mouths. I don’t criticise you or what you eat because I am intelligent. I am not a dreary, judgemental hack who has to call girls fat to make himself feel attractive. Leave me alone, and get out of my face.”
He is stunned into silence. Taking his chair with him, he stalks off to the other side of the room. We don’t speak for the rest of our time there.
I leave bits of my flesh outside his house with a note attached explaining which body part it came from. This time, I took a chunk out of my thigh. There is plenty to be taken from my stomach. I’ll continue to do this until there is barely anything left of me. I once used a tendon as a piece of string to tie the note to the flesh. My bathroom looks like a hospital right now, with all the scalpels and anaesthetic. I’m not a stranger to the eye of a needle anymore.
Courtenay S. Gray is a writer from the North of England. She has been featured in publications such as Maudlin House, Daily Drunk Mag and Red Fez. Nominations: Pushcart Prize (2020) / Runner up for the 2021 Literary Lancashire Award in Poetry. STRAWBERRY/Alien Buddha Press. Twitter: @courtenaywrites / Blog: www.courtenayscorner.com