“Jonno! I’m making lunch,” Phil tells me as I stumble into the kitchen. “It’s a surprise.”
I nod as I pour myself coffee, half-awake and unprepared for his cheery demeanor. It’s not lunch for me, it’s breakfast. The first sip singes my lips but brings me much-needed alertness. I carry my still-steaming drink to the table and a moment later, Phil is serving me a platter.
In the center of the dinner-sized plate there’s a miniature sandwich, more of an amuse-bouche, a tiny hors d’oeuvre, or some other French word. Torn lettuce, twisted and suffocating a slice of raw potato, sitting between pita crisps. It appears lonesome.
“Is this meant to be…exotic?” I ask, poking at it, as though it might jump up at me, somehow revealing a full meal hidden inside.
“It’s this new diet I’m trying,” he says, taking a diminutive bite from his diminutive lunch, chewing for one second and then going for an equally tiny bite, clutching it the way a squirrel might, hovering in front of his face.
“Diet?” I wonder for a moment if this is a subtle dig: though never as toned or body-conscious as he is, I used to be more so but have softened up some since our wedding. I’ll admit I’m carrying a little extra baggage in my midsection but I dismiss the thought.
“I’m feeling lumpy,” Phil says, patting his stomach. The only lumps there are his prominent abdominal muscles, and something called an oblique or two. He turns his attention to me, and my uneaten breakfast. Or is it lunch? “Are you not going to eat that?”
“I’m not sure I would know the difference if I did,” I reply, smirking, and sip my coffee.
“I eat two of these a day. I only started yesterday but I’m really feeling the changes, I think.”
“Two of these in addition to…food?” I already know the answer.
“Nope,” he says, proud of himself. See, I called it.
I put my uneaten meal in the refrigerator, where Phil can retrieve it later for his dinner, I suppose, and grab four slices of actual bread instead. I spread immense globs of peanut butter over each and stack them into a quadruple-decker tower of deliciousness.
“I’ll be right back, just want to check my email,” I say, grabbing my coffee and returning to the bedroom. My inbox is littered with garbage, as usual. After I’ve deleted multiple messages from a children’s clothing company whose promotions I never signed up to receive, and completed a quick scan of my social accounts, I return to the kitchen. The entire jaunt, round-trip, took four minutes.
Phil crouches on the floor, his back against the freezer, with an open tub of ice cream wedged between his knees.
“I was feeling dizzy,” he says. I notice peanut butter in his beard.
The sandwich I’d prepared is missing from its plate.
I slide next to him and kiss the top of his head. “Still feeling those changes, eh?”
Charlie Rogers is a writer and photographer from Beacon, NY currently living in NYC with the ghosts of some cats. Their stories have appeared in Intrinsick Magazine, Pif Magazine, and Endless Pictures, an anthology from TL;DR Press. Charlie can be stalked on Twitter at @UnmutualCharlie.