Unsatisfiable Urges

by dschapman

I grow weak as the day wears on and then, as my weariness becomes unbearable, something unusual happens; I work up an appetite. I imagine it clearly, though vaguely, food as a Platonic form; a piping hot plate, meat and two sides, bread and water – whatever I’d like, in fact. I am rich again. I am positively flush with cash. I do nothing with it, because I am apathetic these days, and want nothing that money can buy. But now that I am hungry, I could buy a meal! Or I could visit my mother and ask her for anything. There is food in this world and I want it. I could eat anything. I am starving. My head hurts. I imagine the spread of a healthy, home-cooked meal, the fullness, the nutrition, the richness, full of butter and salt, the sweetness to my drink, and I can feel my stomach grow satisfied, feel my head fill itself in and grow warm and buoyant. I spend several hours dreaming of food, waiting for the end of the day when I might eat it. I promise myself to feast tonight. But night falls, and I’m tired. I can hardly bring myself to move. My head hurts so badly it is all I can do to eat drugs by the handful, and all they do is hurt my head. I can not make it to town tonight to eat a good meal. I can not cook myself anything, because I am not a good cook, nor do I have any gas, because I was negligent on my gas bill. There is soup and dry pasta in the cupboards and though I could cook them on my hotplate, the thought of it is too much to bear, the boiling of water, the flavorless singularity of wheat and broth – no, I am better off without it. I desire, I deserve, something better than that – a real meal. But where can I get one, in the condition I’m in? I am famished, I need to eat – I can not eat, I’m just too famished. I would pay $100 to the first man who brought me a meal. I would double down on desert, and a Coca-Cola to wash it all down with. I am worse than a prisoner or an orphan, living on gruel – I am totally unsalvageable, an infinity away from food, from normalcy, from satisfaction and contentment. Suddenly it is midnight, and I knock myself out with a special sort of cocktail. The dreams of a hot, square meal fade away, and soon my appetite gives up as well, the cravings subside, and I am left, emptier than ever, alone in my bed, while my chest heaves.