Lorna licked the lip of her spoon. Corndogs, Cannoli, pecan-encrusted snapper, it made no difference. She was a competitive eater. Wannabe Super Models hated her. They binged too, but not for big bucks and they ended up catting it all.
Nobody believed Lorna when she told them what she did. It didn’t define her. She was thin as a yucca stick, but not golden. Charlie didn’t believe her when she slipped and told him. He laughed heroically, his cerulean eyes glazed as he swirled the bottom of his glass. He sniffed its bouquet like it was the last glorious remains of Pompeii. He waved the sommelier over to kill the rest of the bottle. Lorna stuffed herself with a heaping forkful of angel hair pasta and Charlie, the cornball, ribbed Lorna that there was a mimetic connection between her hair and the feast on his plate. Lorna made a nervous snort. She knew her own hair was kinkier more like spiral pasta. She wished Charlie would stop trying so hard to dazzle her with his wine knowledge. She suspected he’d once worked in a liquor store, maybe while earning his way through college. Lorna’s hands grew clammy at the thought of the price of the bill.
Maybe he’d never believe she was a professional chowhound, but she dreaded, even more, the confession of her true joy— ceramics. Only her kiln mates knew her passion and she never spoke a word to them. She had zero talent. Her plates looked as if they’d been mauled by rhinoceroses, her cups looked like cereal bowls after smoking too much ganja, but she loved the intimacy of cold clay caressing her fingers and loved food, but hated eating because she hated the way she gorged herself in competitions. She seldom revealed this until a third or fourth date, which wasn’t often. She seemed to be a magnet for those Yuppie assholes who tried to impress her with their Audis and their weekend getaways in Ibiza. They frisked her with their eyes, only one thing on their mind and she was tempted every now and again to get it out in the open, but always feared that she was doomed to meet another whack-job, like that slimeball who imported furs, who didn’t even want to enter her, opting to watch her stuff her face with chorizo and kielbasa. She had no clue why she went through the ordeal. She turned her head when he squirt his seed.
Charlie was different. He was the Rhone Ranger and everything he said about Gigondas, Côte-Rôtie and Châteauneuf-du-Pape watered her mouth. She loved the way he said they smelled of undergrowth, lilacs, and spice box, his forehead crinkled, his shock of hair askew, his pronouncements almost prophetic and then he’d hunch his shoulders and make a wry grin as if second guessing his unmitigated zeal. She pictured him curled up in the morning underneath her quilt while she snuck off to brew coffee. He ate like a bird and drank like a fish. Could he understand? She watched him dip his bread mottling the cloth with oil. She reasoned sharing her passion couldn’t be any worse than getting the ingrown toenail removed when she’d gotten back from Limoux. Up she sat, readying herself to mouth the words but they wouldn’t budge. She nudged the paper bag under her chair nesting the mangled decanter that she’d made for him. That would be hard enough to put in his hands. She slunk within the confines of her unsettled self, drowned the last drop of her Riesling, and felt a new warm pulse rippling inside her.
She elbowed onto the table, wetting her lips with the blade of her tongue. The bottom of her throat welled up as though she’d swallowed a cantaloupe.