By Katie Kent
I study my handwritten shopping list as I wander around the supermarket. With the basics already in my basket—meat, fish, vegetables, and herbs—my eyes focus on the bottom part of the list, where I’ve scrawled the names of the forbidden items. Chocolate. Cake. Doritos and dip. Pizza.
In the chocolate aisle, I linger, scanning the shelves. It’s been a while since I last bought a chocolate bar and the array of options bewilders me; dark, milk, white; nuts, coconut, mint. Choosing the most appealing bar, I can almost feel the sweet chocolate melting on my tongue.
At the bakery counter, I point to a piece of lemon drizzle cake, moist with glistening glaze. As the assistant puts it in a cardboard box, slaps a label on it, and hands it to me, I inhale the citrus aroma and my mouth waters. Seeing the cake in the basket next to the chocolate, I come to a sudden stop as a stab of guilt hits me, but I power on to the next aisle.
I pick up a big bag of Doritos and a sour cream dip, imagining the salty crunch of the tortilla chips and the coolness of the dip in my mouth. I hesitate for a moment, but tell myself that I need to do this, and put them in my basket without another thought.
Finally, I put a pizza with plenty of cheese and meaty slices of pepperoni in my basket. My stomach rumbles as I think about biting into the crust, cheese dripping down my chin.
This was easier than I had expected, and I feel a glimmer of hope.
Suddenly I hear a loud voice and look across to see a petite woman next to me, arguing with a fat guy. I feel a wave of revulsion as my eyes take in his stomach, overhanging his jeans. “You know you can’t eat pizza, Mike. You’re supposed to be on a diet and it’s too bad for you. Too much fat and too many calories.” She leads him off to another aisle and he looks longingly at the contents of my basket.
I shake my head as I try unsuccessfully to ignore the anxiety sweeping over me. Picking up the chocolate bar, my eyes scan the label for the nutritional information. I do the same with the cake box. Then the Doritos. Finally, the pizza.
With a sigh, I abandon the shopping basket next to the aisle and walk out as quickly as I can, my head down, ignoring the products trying to tempt me from the shelves. I guess it was too much to expect that my first shopping trip in months would go that smoothly. I just hope that no one sees me as I make my way from the back of the store to the front doors. With the speed I am going at, someone would probably suspect me as a shoplifter. I just need to get out of there as fast as possible before the panic attack floors me.
“Mum, why is that girl so skinny? She looks like a skeleton!”
I try to pretend I haven’t heard, haven’t seen the chubby kid’s finger pointed right at me, as I tighten my belt.
One day, I might be able to actually buy this stuff for real. But today is not that day.