I thought about this blog from last night and realized that it was essentially a blog written in third person, devoid of the rich details that make a story really come alive. So, I’d like to attempt a rewrite!
She ordered a beer and a fried chicken sandwich. The server took her order, oblivious to the fact that Chelsea, an almost-entirely-vegetarian for nine years, had just taken an unplanned detour on her walk home in order to answer a craving for meat. The cravings almost only ever came the week before her period, a time when the only language she seemed to know was wordless and energetic. Touch, hugs, sex, hot showers, comfy clothes, food.
A man and his 5-year-old daughter sat down at the table next to her. The dad looked like many dads you might see around Park Slope – youngish, fit, intellectual, someone who wore performance fleece and tried to reduce his family’s carbon imprint. Chelsea liked the way he talked to his little girl, like she was an actual human, not some deaf pet in that way she often observed some people treat their kid. The girl couldn’t say her “r”s – Chelsea smiled to herself when the little one said “flowuh” and “cah” – and her dad said, teasingly, “Where’d you get that Brooklyn accent from?” Chelsea concentrated on pretending she was wrapped up in her journal, but silently wished she could be friends with Dad and Daughter. She would have engaged them, but didn’t want to break the invisible wall that exists between strangers in New York City. Chatting for a few minutes was perfectly acceptable, but when bonded by proximity (say, adjoining restaurant tables or a dentist’s waiting room), it was often difficult to return to separate worlds.
The meal finally arrived and she released a sigh, part relief, part exasperation. She was beginning to get hangry (what a stupid-sounding, but totally accurate word). She grasped the sandwich and dug her teeth through the soft bread and into the dense, savory chicken breast. The vinegary pickle delivered a delicious crunch and complemented the salty breading and piles of greasy, yet perfectly crisp fries. She made sure to take her time and chew, set food down between bites and dabbed at her mouth with a crumpled paper napkin, but if she had let herself, she would have devoured the sandwich in, like, four bites.
The meat seemed to weigh her down in some way, preventing her from expanding too far, spreading, melting, taking pieces of her away on floods of emotion. She felt her belly fill and the fog in her brain dissipated, the world suddenly coming back into focus. Her nerves, which had felt volatile, were soothed. She was ready to face the world again, no longer afraid that just anything would move her to uncontrollable tears. She hoped that the chicken hadn’t suffered too greatly and offered a silent prayer of gratitude, finally anchored to the earth.