Today I will be better is what he would think if he could put it into words, but it is six-thirty in the morning and he is studying his pudgy self in the full-length mirror and wanting to cry or puke, he cannot decide which, but soon his guts will make the decision for him.
He has heard the cravings likened to a hunger, but that is only half the story. For him they are a chasm in his chest. A sizzle in his nerve endings. Mornings are the worst.
Parchment-yellow fingertips quiver as he buttons up his shirt… all the way to the neck. The faintest brush of knuckle on turkey-like jowl and his gorge surges till it tingles the underside of his uvula. A few dry heaves and a sip of water (little more than a teaspoon) and he is thumping down the stairs and out the door into the crackling indifferent chill of the dead streets.
His teeth chatter as he walks- soon he will be jostled from side to side by the train’s ugly palpations- there will be elbows and knees and hacking coughs and foul body odour. And then he will be at a desk in a room full of happy people- he will stare at a screen with a biro in his hand- and it may take a few minutes before he realises the tip of the biro is between his lips, filling the vacant spot in his mouth.
About the Writer:
Tom Mead is a UK-based writer of short fiction. Examples of his work have been published by Litro Online, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine as well as by a number of fiction anthologies.
Image: “Kiss of Cigarettes” by Moheen Reeyad, an entry in the 2014 Bangla Wikipedia Photography Contest.