Katie…from Little Sister
Modern – Women
By Joan Macleod (Coach House Press: 94-95)
I make lunch, make lunch for me and Buddy and Andrew. Mummy’s little helper. I put six slices of bread on the counter, six. The bread is soft and big and brown. I cover the bread with peanut butter because I love love love peanut butter. I slice up bananas and put them on top. Then four hey-dey cookies apiece into little plastic bags and one big red apple for me.
I don’t jog to school. I get a ride with my mum but I make her let me out a block before so no one will see I’m with her. I study right until the bell.
I always eat lunch in the girl’s washroom, always sit under the Tampax machine. I’ve never had a period and think by sitting under the machine this will somehow help. I realize this is not vey logical but to the best of my knowledge I am the only girl in grade ten who hasn’t started. I take the sandwich apart. I scrape all the peanut butter off the little slices of banana and eat them slowly. I eat the crusts, I love
The last class of the day is History. On my way to class I feel clear as springwater, clear as glass, when I move through the halls. I am moving in a glass box. I take my seat. When I leave there will be no impressions, no trace of me. I put my hand around my waist because my stomach is crying.
Slides of the Holocaust. There is no way of knowing who lived or died. Who are the survivors? I am feeling badly for the victims of Auschwitz as is the rest of my class but I am more concerned about the four hey-dey cookies in my brown recycled lunch bag in the trash.
I want to dive through to the bottom, dive into the thrown-out sandwiches, butts, damp paper-towels, apple cores and surface with my lunch, a giant pearl I can stuff inside and swallow and swallow…
Don’t. I am afraid of the sound of my stomach, afraid my bones make noise inside my skin when I walk up the aisle but I am most afraid because the inside of my mouth tastes like peanut butter and it should not. [Katie breaks down. She curls up on her bed] Somebody!…Listen! Help me please! [Katie rings the bell above her bed] I’m hungry!