© Maureen Smith, June 2021

The stone-grey walls surrounded her. She felt like a prisoner. Maybe she was, a prisoner of her own thoughts. She had fled home taking only a few necessities, her toothbrush, hair straightener, a few pairs of undies, and her mother's credit card. She had been so angry, so hurt, so defensive. Now she was alone, in a cold empty room ruminating on her situation. How could they have spoken to her like that? Didn't they know how sensitive she was about her weight? She had tried to diet, she really had. Protein shakes, Jenny Craig, Lite and Easy, but it wasn't easy. She failed each time. Didn't they know she had to munch on snacks when she studied, when she had her periods, when she felt anxious? Most of the time she comforted herself with a packet of Tim Tams, the caramel ones she loved so much. How she wanted a packet right now, they usually made her feel better, while she was eating them anyhow.

She fossicked around in the only cupboard in the motel room. A jug, tea bags, packets of sugar and two biscuits wrapped in cellophane. She tore open the packet and shoved both biscuits into her mouth, the dry crumbs caught in her throat. Opening the door of the small fridge to look for cool water she was met with sparkling lights dancing through coloured bottles. It looked like fairyland. Bottles of beer, pink soft drink, wine, little bottles of green, gold and brown winked at her. She reached out and grabbed the first bottle available and opened it. She was so thirsty she poured the contents into her dry mouth and gulped greedily. Oh, that felt so good, the cool bubbly sensation tickled the roof of her mouth and up into her nose. She looked at the label, sparkling white wine it said, but it tasted a lot like the champagne she had tried at her sister's twenty first birthday party.

After consuming the contents of the bottle, she felt a little better, not so anxious, relaxed somewhat, her head felt like it was floating, and she felt warm and pleasant all over. She turned on the TV and KFC's golden drumsticks burst into full colour, her stomach rumbled. She opened the fridge door again, maybe there were some chocolates she hadn't noticed before.

Munching on a Toblerone her hunger was sated for the moment - until thirst raged again, so back to the fridge to try another bottle of something while she watched a movie on TV. By the end of the movie, she had emptied two bottles of beer, a bottle of soft drink, the two miniature bottles of scotch whiskey as well as the small bottle of vodka.

She felt sleepy, warmly delicious and surprisingly to her, not hungry. She thought as she pulled the doona over her and settled down to sleep, that eating was not as good as drinking. Food satisfied her hunger and something else she wasn't quite sure of, for a short time. But the contents of these colourful bottles satisfied a whole lot more, she felt all warm and relaxed inside, her head spun a bit, but the sensation was like an out of body experience, everything seemed more attractive, even the walls with its one daggy picture.

The morning sun streamed in through the open curtains onto her face. She headed for the bathroom as her bladder called. Her head was pounding, she felt nauseous and so very thirsty. With her head under the bathroom tap and a tummy full of water she felt a little better - and to her surprise not ravishingly hungry, but still nauseated. After vomiting into the toilet, she headed to the fridge where more little bottles smiled at her as she took a small bottle of brandy and sipped its contents. Ah yes that did the trick, she felt much better. After finishing the brandy she decided to phone her parents and tell them she was okay, and that she had decided to quit eating so much. She smiled as she thought of all the lovely shiny bottles she could have instead.

Maureen Smith ©