a heartwarming tale

Really bad day. I don’t want to talk about it. I do want to smoke, though. I really, really want to smoke. And I also, for some reason, really, really wanted battered fish cakes. Okay. Who am I fooling? I wanted goddamn frozen fish sticks. It was not just a want: it was a yearning, a desire, a craving, an absolute have-or-die need. I had not been able to get them out of my mind.

In between hating my day, I spent my time wishing for the Gorton’s fisherman to sail up to my house and unload a rowboat full of delicious (semi-) crispy pressed fish concoctions into my arms and press a kiss gently on my forehead. And then possibly do all the microwaving for me and then bring me a plate and a fork and a napkin and turn on the TV and change the channel when I tell him to and adjust the sound and tuck my feet in and then walk me to bed and plump my pillows and set the alarm and sing me to beautiful fish-scented, deep-fried sleep, with my belly full of delicious fish sticks. That is my idea of heaven. Especially the fish sticks part.

I rushed home after work, because in the face of the eminent
possibility of being home and not upright or clothed, all I wanted in
the world was, in fact, to be lying down and not wearing pants, somehow
stupidly forgetting that what I really wanted was to stop at the
grocery store and load up an entire cart of yellow boxes. I stopped at
the corner store briefly, was stymied by their lack of fish happiness,
and stomped home, muttering under my breath, rassafrassan. I tried to
forget my fish stick jones, but I felt it still in my heart. Not even
the internet, or lying down, or America’s Next Top Model, or writing
PAIN on my fists in black magic marker could take away my suffering.
And god forbid I put pants back on and go back out of the house,
because that was just the worst kind of thing I could ever imagine in
the history of the world. And there I was, stuck between desire and
bone-deep despair which had rendered me immobile (by which I mean
“lazy”), with no help on the horizon, no solution, no love.

I sprawled on the couch and thought about wailing, but did not have the
energy. My neighbor, who is both psychic and moving out tomorrow
morning, felt the radiation of my hopeless despondence through the
battered wooden floor of her apartment, and knocked on my door. I
stirred myself to answer, because even in the down-deep pits of
desolation, I am nothing if not unfailingly polite.

"Hi!" my neighbor said. "Would you like some bacon and some butter?"
"Sure!" I said, because that is the only way you respond when someone
offers you both bacon and butter, the two main food groups. I followed
her upstairs, my heart a little lighter for the upcoming bounty. She
opened her fridge and piled my arms with bacon, butter, a bag of pork
gyoza and then, "Oh!" she said, "These!" and these were fish sticks.

Sometimes, the universe loves me. A little bit.

5 Replies to “a heartwarming tale”

  1. I was feeling something very like that yesterday, though it had more to do with this cast on my foot that makes going to the next room, much less the supermarket, difficult. I was jonesing for blue corn chips and quacomole. Where are the neighbors when I need them?

  2. Ah, sweet memories of Mrs. Paul’s green box of fish sticks. (We always bought those; I had an aversion to that creepy rain-slicker-clad Gorton’s fisherman.) I liked them dipped in ketchup. (Is that weird? Whatever!) I haven’t had those in a million years. Fish sticks and canned Bumble Bee tuna was the only from-the-sea food I’d eat as a child.

    Glad your fish stick mojo was working yesterday. It’s nice when life is like that. And the little things DO count!

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