Art by Paul Rios
“I’m heading out for a snack; I’ll be right back.”
Ev, my team lead at work, was busy. She didn’t bother to look up from her computer as I walked away and headed down the hall towards the exit. It was 2:30 p.m. I had eaten lunch a couple hours earlier, but one peanut butter and jelly sandwich will only last a person for so long.
I pushed open the back the door and walked onto the landing that leads to the stairs. A warm breeze hit my face like hot breath. It was almost enough to turn around and head back in, but I wasn’t going to give up on my quest for food that easy. Fighting the furnace-like heat, I began my descent from the fifth floor.
“What the hell is going on?”
The thought jumped in my head as I lightly jogged down the stairs. The pitter-patter of my feet on the steps was causing a reaction I had, up until that point, been unfamiliar with—jiggling. It wasn’t a “bowl full of jelly”-type shake, more like a small piece of Tupperware containing firm Jell-O, but it was disheartening nonetheless.
“I used to be able to eat anything,” I whined silently to myself, bitter that my core region appeared to be in the middle of a mild earthquake.
Memories of late-night Taco Bell runs and a steady diet of Fritos and It’s-Its came gushing back like the green apple Slurpees I used to top off at the local 7-11. I never gained weight in high school; I couldn’t if I tried.
That was a long time ago.
I hopped off the last step, pushed my way through the metal “exit” doors and crossed the street. Moving swiftly through the jumble of cars and people in the area, I approached the front door to Posey’s General Store.
“After you,” I said with a smile to the tall, bearded man I beat to the door. He nodded his head and walked in. He didn’t make it far, though. Reaching down into the blue refrigerated case to the left of the entrance, the man pulled out a tollhouse cookie ice cream sandwich and walked over to the register.
“Ice creammm,” I thought while mentally drooling at the sight of my favorite frozen treat.
I jumped through the door and took over the spot in front of the giant icebox. Looking down, my eyes met the frosty glass in hopes of spotting another chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream treasure. Unfortunately for me, all I could focus on was the reflection staring back in my direction. The ice cream case was rounded at the top, creating a fun house-effect on the middle section of my appearance. It may have been an exaggerated look, but it was enough to change my mind.
Redirecting my attention to the store’s selection of nuts, I settled on a bag of honey-roasted cashews. At least it was healthier than ice cream. I turned around, walked over to the register and plopped the blue, slender bag in front of the cashier.
“Is that all?” she said in a slightly confused tone. I guess I had been standing in front of the ice cream for a while.
“Yes,” I replied after a severely depressing sigh. “That’s it.”