Sunday, 19 June 2022

'Helping the Words Go Down' by Emily Macdonald

“What are you doing love?” he asks. “Have you gone raving mad?”

I’m sat at the table, a napkin on my lap. I’ve laid a placemat, and a knife and fork though I’m eating with my fingers. I have a plate and a glass. I’m pleased to have remembered the large jug of water. I’ve refilled it twice already.

The table is littered with scraps of paper. A few torn from journals, mostly print outs from my laptop, some cut from magazines and one precious book pulled apart. I’ve placed handfuls of scraps into bowls as if they might be side dishes. I’m chewing on the words. The paper is not so bad if I suck it for long enough. It goes soft and pulpy, but the book covers are jawbreakers. I’m guessing this meal will take me some time. Even with the water.

“Love,” he says, placing a hand on my shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“I’m eating my words,” I say. “I promised myself. I told you, didn’t I? I said that man is disgraceful. He’ll never get voted in again. A man like that. A liar and a cheat. I said, the nation won’t stand for it and if I’m wrong, I’ll eat my words.”

My husband looks at me. He watches my chewing and my sipping from my glass.

He goes to the cupboard and pulls out jars of chutney, piccalilli, peanut butter, some jam. He places them on the table. He fills the kettle and prepares the T-pot. He lays a place opposite me.

“If I’m going to join you,” he says, “I need a good cup of Yorkshire. Nothing like a good cup of tea to help the words go down.”

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