Pigs Fry; Pigs Fly by Janet Slike
Hannah gazed at the double-smoked bacon, the crunchy slab that she had craved in the hospital. She studied the interplay of the colors, red and creamy tan, against the green Fiesta plate critically, as a painter would, and concluded that the patterned balance was perfection. But then Thurns, her parents’ specialty meat shop on Greenlawn Avenue in Columbus, Ohio, wouldn’t sell anything less, nor would her father serve it. She knew the meat would need to be a treat, not a staple in her diet, to protect her heart from another attack or further damage. What is good for the heart emotionally is not always what is good physically. Saliva pooled in her mouth as she anticipated biting into the crispy strip.
She bit off a piece and the hideous taste made her wince. More awful than rancidness, it brought tears to her eyes. Her throat burned. Her stomach pleated like an accordion. She felt so very guilty, as if she had eaten her precious child. Not even for survival had the food entered her mouth, but for frivolous, discretionary calories. She deserved to be punished for the transgression. Her father, oblivious to Hannah’s shame, put three more strips on her plate so the serving dish could be replenished with more flesh from the cast-iron skillet. He tugged at his work shirt with greasy fingers, the fat oozing down to give his nails a slick polish.
Hannah blamed the whole weird incident on medication side effects, but she wasn’t quite sure how to bring it up to Dr. Roberts. She couldn’t imagine asking, “Can a beta blocker make you feel like a cannibal?”
Since her heart surgery, she hadn’t meandered back into work at the shop yet, or to her own house in German Village. With only two weeks of cardiac rehab completed, she was still tired and weak. She would have gotten dizzy standing at the meat slicer. Her parents were happy to ease her transition from the hospital to regular society by letting her stay with them at their house near the family store, but she was embarrassed by the situation. At her age, she should have a husband to fuss over her and children reading to her from picture books and bringing her cups of orange juice. Her younger sister Camille was on her second husband and had a precocious seven-year-old son, Collin, who shared Hannah’s love of knock-knock jokes.
The winter days were open, hers to fill with scrapbooking and fused glass pendant production if she could muster the energy. Most days she couldn’t. Even since her childhood, Hannah simply had to create. If only she could create her perfect husband, her face would be carved in a smile.
The snow outside fell heavy in large, wet flakes to the ground. Messy and primed to turn to slush at the slightest provocation, the snow coated the lawn and the tacky abstract lawn ornaments her artist sister had created. Camille had the opportunity to attend the Columbus School of Art and Design, by way of their benevolent Aunt Rose. Both Camille and Hannah had talent, but Hannah had more taste. The degree didn’t help Camille any in her career, though, who had worked at Thurn’s since graduation.
Hannah checked into her Facebook page to see what her friends were up to. Most of them were also in their mid-thirties, exploring career, love, and parenting with abandon and forthright opinions. A rap on the door startled her in mid-comment to her friend Madeline’s new picture of the twins. She arose from the leather recliner and walked to the door, not caring that whoever was at the door would see her in a faded pair of Hello Kitty lounge pants. It was hard for Hannah to feign conventional modesty and dignity again after being in the hospital for so long. The staff there saw any part of her body they requested to examine, on an as-needed basis.
The Line of Fate
No Sleep till Deadtown
Pigs Fry; Pigs Fly
Ripples From The Weather Aggregator
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