Page 67 - June 2021 Litterateur
P. 67

Burning Hunger



                  It almost gets Andrew through his glimpse of her for whom his heart aches and has always ached in
                  some ancient way which will never end:he goes over to talk to her, and now knows what was meant by
                  whomever coined the curious phrase, ‘My heart was in my mouth.’
                             “G… mornin’, Gloria.”
                             “Good Morning, Andrew. You look nice today. How are you?”
                             Suddenly, he doesn’t know, but manages to say, “Um, fine,” and, “Have a nice day,” before
                  going back to the break room to regroup.
                   He takes a deep breath, realizes who he is, reminded of his burning hunger.

                                                                             *


                   It gets Andrew through the drudgery of his work, which doesn’t challenge him, doesn’t force him to
                  use his abilities, doesn’t appeal to his passion, which he accepts because it more than pays the bills,
                  and that is, after all, what grown-ups do.

                   His burning hunger gets him through to lunchtime. Oh, how he loves to eat! Sweet, sour, salty, spicy,
                  it’s all good to him. No food is too exotic for Andrew.
                   Today, though, it’s comfort food at a diner with his old friend Jeff, a courier who meets him on his
                  rounds.
                   “Married life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Andrew. I mean, Shelley is great, and I love the girls, but it’s
                  a great big hassle, you know what I mean?”
                   “Why is it impossible in the 21st century to get a club sandwich with mayonnaise already on it?”
                   “Are you even listening to me?”
                   “Marriage is a great big hassle,” Andrew paraphrases with frustration, as well as the underlying hope
                  he will experience such difficulty himself.
                   From there he smiles and nods a lot, gets mayonnaise for his sandwich, gravy for his French fries, and
                  another glass of iced tea. Andrew loves Jeff almost like a brother, but it seems like they have this
                  conversation every time they meet.
                   Sometimes it gets hard not to be cynical, to not anticipate the appropriate time to say, “Things will be

                  different when…”
                   But Andrew likes Jeff’s company, and it keeps his mind off his burning hunger.


                                                                             *

                  It  gets  him  through  the  afternoon,  the  involuntary  food  coma,  the  inevitable  confrontation  with  the
                  bafflingly embittered co-worker, the insufferable afternoon meeting, which would be so much easier to
                  fake interest in with the aid of fresh morning coffee.
                   Then, almost at the end of the work day, core duties done; a collective sigh of relief. Everyone shares
                  their after-work itinerary, which somehow melds into one. “I’ve got to take Jimmy to soccer practice.
                  I’ve got a date with Gus. Tammy has her dance recital. Poor Bobbie (or is it Bobby) has to go to the
                  Doctor with rickets.”
                   …Jimmy has taken to dance with the Doctor...Gus has a date with Tammy…Bobbie and Bobby at the
                  Robbie for soccer…I’ve got to go to the ricket recital…or, words to that effect, which seem to have no
                  effect…yet do…
                   Truth be told, sometimes – well, most days – Andrew longs for such mundanities and the order of the
                  routine they would provide; the proof of apparent normalcy. But not today.

                   Today, it’s off to The Rex for hockey talk with the two co-workers he gets along with this week.Hockey
                  is  the  great  ice-breaker  between  men  -  with  the  right  sort  it  can  be  the  whole  conversation.  Plus,  it
                  keeps him from wondering what they might be saying about him to anyone else.






                   Litterateur                                                                                            67

                         REDEFINING WORLD
                       EDITED BY SHAJIL ANTHRU
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