You feel fat when you lie in the bed, head on a stack of pillows, sheet bunched up around you and over you to hide your bulging belly. You stare at the walls, listen to the sound of cabinets banging closed next door, wonder what goes on over there to require so much banging, picture a group of older women racing around a kitchen, cooking a furious dinner, a big steaming pot of pasta with red sauce, fish in the oven, bread baking, chocolate cake cooling on the counter, spatulas and spoons clanking, dropping, flying around the crowded space. You think you can smell the food, but it’s nearly two in the morning and it doesn’t make sense that a bunch of older women would be banging and clanging and cooking food next door. You rub your swollen stomach and roll out of bed and head for your tiny kitchen with the white cabinets and the black tile floor and the cheap dollar store spatulas and suddenly you realize why your dieting has been unsuccessful and suddenly you hate the older women and their cakes and their red sauce and their seafood baking in the oven and you vow to move to a new place by the end of the month. But first a snack, maybe some pancakes, and then an hour or two to insulate the walls with every blanket and towel in your house and then back to bed to listen to the downstairs neighbors fight about why he has no job and why she’s pregnant again and why their house always smells like chocolate cake and seafood when she doesn’t know how to cook.
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Sandra Ketcham currently lives in Orlando where she works as a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work appears in Bluestem, Mobius, Orion Headless, Bicycle Review, The Monarch Review, and many other wonderful places.