Published on Sep 12, 2020

Nobody else had seen the inside of his apartment since the beginning of summer. It grew messier each week. The thought of cleaning pierced dread into him. His internal voice pondered whether he might be willing to clean the apartment for friends who would visit soon if not for himself.

The ripe time to act this out of character would be early afternoons. By then his physical body would at least be clean after washing up. Being clean himself while in a dirty environment made him less judgemental, able to observe the conditions of his surroundings for what it was without becoming emotional. This would be the time to clean if there was one but this was when his belly would become impossible to ignore.

He had three breakfast spots. Today it was Normands a french cafe ten minutes away by foot. The entire cafe would be eating lunch, and the time was so that the staff couldn't assume otherwise of him.

Janine looked up from the table she was engaged with to say hello as he entered. A minute later she came over to the table he picked holding a thin, glass pitcher of water and a short drinking glass.

"A cappuchino today? Or let me guess. A double espresso actually?"
"How did you know?"
"You're an easy read."
"Or you're a strong reader."
"Maybe," she said sarcastically.
"I'm simple and predictable."
"Hey! All of us are creatures of habits. Some of us run from this truth. But you embrace it."
"You'd do well in sales. I would really enjoy a double espresso. Thank you, Janine."
"But don't you know? I am in sales." Her arms spread wide to implicate the cafe while heading to the kitchen. On the way a customer called out to commend a recommendation Janine had given them and the two of them had a quick exchange.

He drank partial glasses of water that he poured from the pitcher little by little because he didn't want the pitcher to be empty already when Janine returned with the double espresso.

The espresso machine hissed. Silverware clinked softly underneath murmurs and laughter. In the kitchen he heard the crescendoing sizzle of food entering a pan of fresh, hot oil. The air was filled with the smell of a bakery. He felt his mouth water so consciously that he remembered back to how he sometimes craved food in high school while at a Chinese buffet or a fast food joint. Waiting in those cheap places his mouth would water with such impatience that the anticipation acted merely as a painful barrier to the reward of hot, flavorful food that he would shove in his mouth as fast as possible once it was finally in front of him.

He wondered whether this painful anticipation, this lust for food was something he outgrew or was just less present because he now avoided cheap places like Chinese buffets.

There was something about higher quality food that evoked less lust. Desire was still present, but it didn't overpower the entire experience to the point where he no longer was a person who felt desire but instead was the feeling of desire itself.

Now as he sat in Normands he was genuinely pleased that he was hungry and waiting for the soup, salad, baguette, and duck pates that were about to come out. He could savor the desire and the desire was almost just as good as the actual experience of eating it.

Chris the manager saw him from behind the coffee bar and waved at him. Chris asked a quick 'How are you doing?' before he was interrupted by a waiter who asked him a question. Janine then came by with his double espresso and a new pitcher of water.

"Thirsty today now aren't we?"