Food or flight

It had been a beautiful day. Jack stood on Lewes bridge and stared out at the picturesque view down the river. The first shades of dusk cooling down the baking sun, a light breeze rippling the water; it inspired contentment and contemplation.

As it often did in such moments, Jack’s contemplation drifted to his stomach. He decided he would make himself a great meal to round off a great day. As usual he was divided between a healthy and a hearty option. Hamburger or veggie noodles. The yin and yang of his diet.

The greasy beef, dripping cheese, iceberg lettuce in a mayo and ketchup spread crusty bun.  The indulgence of a greasy belly, often followed by the guilt of knowing he could have tried harder.

Ginger, garlic, chilli, spring onion, pepper, mushroom and noodles floating in a miso broth. The invigorating freshness of healthy heat that brought a light sweat to the forehead, but a potential rumbling in the stomach later. Maybe a poached egg for extra protein to plug that gap.

The problem was the burger was always more tempting the hungrier he got. Mmmmmmeat. He closed his eyes. His hands gripped the bridge railing, and  he teetered slightly thinking about it.

A shriek woke him from his reverie. “For God’s sake, don’t do it!”

Startled, Jack turned to see a man wide-eyed with panic and fear lurching towards him. Jack looked around, the panic contagious, then realised it was he the man was screaming at. He raised up his hands to halt him.

“Okay, okay,” said Jack. “I won’t do it. I’ll eat the noodles.”

The man stopped, and a look of absolute repulsion washed over his face. “Fucking weirdo,” he said, then turned and walked away, barely pausing to spit with disgust over the side of the bridge.

That put a bit of a damper on the day, thought Jack, as he straightened up and wandered off home. Life was misunderstanding, he mused, everyone presuming to know another’s faults, and mostly getting it wrong. It’s not that people were strange, it’s just strange that we don’t accept we are.

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