I eat like a pig. I don’t mean I urinate on myself or nose greedily for slop in the mud like the piggies I visited on Saturday, but I’ve become just as aggressive. It began during the orientation tour when I arrived at the writing residency. We were encouraged not to go for second servings during meals until after all initial servings were taken.
I began to sweat. I finish my husband B’s meals after I’ve cleaned off my plate. Without him around, second servings were essential. What if there was no food left after the initial servings? I would be the first resident writer to starve at the studio center. Never mind that there are a pub, a café, and a Chinese restaurant within one block of the house in which I’m living. I wouldn’t have the strength to drag myself to any of those eateries if I didn’t have seconds.
The dining hall workers greet me by name when I arrive ten minutes before the start of every meal. Sometimes I’m not the first one there, but my focus needs to be writing, not camping out for a prime spot in the food line. The fear hangs over me even as I eat because food is whisked away precisely 30 minutes after it’s set out.
“Can’t talk. Must eat,” I grunt with my mouth full when table mates try to engage me in conversation. I can’t write and I’m completely intolerable if I’m hungry. I eat for the sake of my art and my fellow residents.