A Starved Heart

My hand plunging into a stiff plastic bag, over and over and over. Salty fingers, hand-to-mouth, chewing, not tasting, touching, not feeling, over and over and over again. Eating without eating.

My naked body spread out like raw chicken on the bed, get it over with get it over with get it over with. Alleged pleasure, weight on top of me, moaning, feeling, but leaving and leaving and leaving. Tuning out, in my body but only as an organic machine, until that final moment, pleasure and release from myself. But not until then. Faking without faking.

Hand-to-mouth, teeth crushing, over and over and over. I don’t need this. There is no hunger in me. Not body-hunger. Not food-hunger. But I’m chewing, swallowing, my numbness easing into a feeling I understand: full. Too full. Stretched, sore, too much. I don’t need to eat this.

Hands-to-bedsheets, grasping. No, too grounding. I touch the body above me. That’s worse. That’s skin-on-skin, connecting me to the body on my body. I reach for the headboard: too arched, too photogenic, too pornographic. Hand-to-heart, I touch myself. I need to feel this. There is hunger in me. Body-hunger. Touch-hunger. But I’m zoning, disappearing, letting my electric skin dissolve into numbness I can accept: empty. So empty. Blank, soft, yielding. I need to finish.

Why, once my hand is inside the bag, can I not stop until it’s over? Why, when my body is stretched and dry and already swollen from salt do I need to mash and fold all the food inside, fill myself until the bag is empty and my hands and tongue and jaw are numb with the work of it? I could just stop in the middle. I could stop before my body starts screaming that it’s too much. But then I would be eating.

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Why, once I feel myself numbing, do I try to come? Why do I think I can reach a high point of physical pleasure when I’m pulling away from the experience, scurrying into some unaroused part of my body whenever the energy or movement or friction shifts and I start to feel? I could stop him. I could say no, and rearrange our bodies when the disappearing starts, press into the yes please more. But then it would be real.

I am hiding behind the kitchen wall. Hiding in my hands and in my mouth. Hiding in the grinding and the mashing of my animal-teeth-on-man-made-food. It’s almost over now. I’m going to finish.

I don’t want to finish for the pins and needles of my grasping core, but for him. So he’ll know that he’s good, and that I’m faithful and present and not disappearing, not numbing out to the rhythm and the movement and the yielding of my body. Not numbing out to the pleasure that he seems to be experiencing while I make myself dead weight, while I go somewhere else, while I try to tap into my orgasm by imagining him with someone else. Never me. Never my body.

Full. Over-full. Buzzing from the frantic consumption, I’m in my body now, hip against the counter, stomach screaming. The roof of my mouth is raw. There’s a feeling of weakness as I deposit the now-empty plastic bag in the trash can under the sink, fully aware of what I’ve just done. Taken more than I need. More than anyone ever needed. Just so I could feel, and be in my body in pain.

It’s not going to happen for me, and I know it. I wonder if he knows it. I stop thinking of my body at all, and let myself disappear into him and the bed under me, and I wrap my arms around him and make all the right noises until his weight shifts, his movements change. Hold on, just a minute longer. Stay away, just a minute longer. I’m gone. It’s almost over.

Where do I go from here? What does this mean for the rest of today? This strange, unearned energy that will be stored as soft-solid and the familiarity of shame.

It’s over and he’s breathless but trying to touch me and I roll to the side, curling my body into itself, away away away. It’s over. The pressure is off. Where do I go from here? Lying, feeling sick and empty, back to myself and the nausea of having done it again. I feel hungry. A non-stomach body-hunger, aching to be filled. How long do I have to lie here before I can escape to the kitchen and eat?

How long can I stand here in the kitchen and pretend that I have not just eaten?

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