by Ava MacPherson
Feed me. Give me something I can give my frail body. Give me something I can get my teeth round. Give me something that lines my lips with grease. Give me something that I haven’t tasted before. Give me something that will get stuck in my molars. Give me something that fills me. I want you to be in love with me like you were when you were 24, when you said that you loved me as much as you loved chips, cheese and gravy. When my body was subtle in all the right places and where you didn’t cast shadows in the dusty parts of my insides. You said one night when we were about to go to sleep that there is nothing in the world as perfect as chips, cheese and gravy but you, my love, come so, so close. That was enough for me, I wanted to be your chips, cheese and gravy and get stuck in your teeth, get stuck so much in your teeth that you would have to floss, and you hated flossing.
I have just turned 22, my heart still somewhere in-between my front door and yours, my body doesn’t feel the same, a distant memory of you stroking my hair in your bed where the sheets were filled with sweat and crisp crumbs. My body is covered in age now, a film that stretches from my hairline to my toes, which is only getting thicker as the seconds tick by. I am a hole that is empty of any conceivable passion. Empty of anything that is worthy of anyone’s gaze. My mum tells me not to show weakness but it’s all I have to give. You will wake up one morning and notice a heaviness in your chest, it’s probably the parts of me I gave to you when feeding you chips by the seaside and staring in wonder at how the sea always kisses the shoreline even when it’s told to go away. I am trying to cycle it off, because a man on the radio said that exercise solves everything but he hasn’t heard of global warming or your bike seat breaking on curry mile.
I hope that when you buy chips, cheese and gravy that you spill the gravy on your favourite shirt. I hope that every time you’re excited to buy chips they come out cold and brown. I hope they are soggy, I hope that the cheese tastes like plastic, I hope you get the shits afterwards.
People say that time is a healer and they are probably right. But as the soft parts of me become hard and stoic, and my knees begin to ache, I crave back the time that you took. I crave the space that you scarred with your excessive whinging and whining about nothing in particular. I crave the skin that you once held in your hands when you put me back on the shelf like an ornamental teapot, to stare at from time to time.
Something please move this frail, old body of mine. I am begging you. Move me. Fuck me. Wash me. Nurture me. Feed me. But don’t you fucking dare, feed me chips, cheese and gravy.
Ava MacPherson is a short story writer originally from Wales who is one third of Verbose, which is an award-winning spoken word night based in Manchester. She also is a very big fan of canines and carbohydrates.