Non fiction

Issue #4

People Walking

These days some people eat tissues instead of food.  Often they are paid millions to do it: their wan bodies grace our billboards and magazines.  My uncle on the other hand, fat and diabetic, is super-sizing himself into an early grave.  He measures his blood sugar and cholesterol every morning with his private healthcare-funded little devices, calculating exactly how much he can get away with eating today without pushing himself over the calorific edge.

    –    I’m not full yet but my jaws are hurting.

    I got scared of eating when I was in Detroit.  It felt like fat had metastasized and become airborne: it would seep into your pores if you weren’t vigilant enough.  And you could see that it scared the shit out of some of the people living there too.  They felt like me…or maybe worse.  Heading the way of the tissue out of fear of absorbing too much of that good, clean fat-laden American air.  There was this waiter in the diner, his skin covering his veins covering his bones, shovelling food at these people, eight, nine, ten times his size.  Couples troughing and sharing and growing. My dad looked over at me.

    –    Look at these people Louise, they are bigger than the world.

    I had a bagel and a grapefruit for breakfast.

    –    Is that all you’re having?

    Grandma or Art asked me that, I forget which.  I remember they said it like there was something wrong with me. With me.  Pepsi cola injects their rotisserie chicken with their ‘own distinctive flavour’ out there.  This is a good thing apparently: chicken wasn’t enough.  Maybe I should have had that for breakfast; covered in some of that blueberry cream gunk my uncle Art had over his sausages and eggs and pancakes. I still have no idea what that stuff was.

Sometimes you can’t feel much in the present of a situation. I asked my dad if he missed his girlfriend when we were out there. 

    –    I might do if I didn’t feel like I was in some crazy parallel universe…

    Nobody walks anywhere. White picket fences and these huge wide streets. Clapboard Houses, Trailer Parks, Diners but no people. It looks post-apocalyptic. Only signs of life those big SUV’s everywhere.  My dad saw a man one day in the street.

    –    Hey look Louise! There’s a man. Look, he’s WALKING!

    –    Aw he’s got to walk. He’s had a stroke.

    Uncle Art came down one morning and whooped:

    –    Well my blood-sugar level is 5.5, I’m gonna have myself that piece of pie!

    Sometimes you can’t feel much in the present of a situation. When you get home and look at all the people walking, even though they haven’t had strokes, that’s when it hits you.

Louise Mousseau