Holding aloft a large cheese and pickle sandwich, Carl concentrates on the job in hand. Alone in the kitchen and away from prying eyes, his taste buds come alive with the tang of cheese and the slight heat of the mango pickle. The soft sunflower and pumpkin seed bread-cake, the extra mayonnaise and a thick layer of butter add to the smooth, sensuous textures as they mix with his saliva; he swallows. It feels good. Food plays a major part in his life. Carl loves food.
Times like these are precious for Carl, they don’t happen very often. Today is a day to be alone and to enjoy food. A few brief moments where he can engulf his food without company, just Carl and food. An intimate moment.
Carl loves to cook. It is instinctive to him. He rarely tries his creations whilst cooking and leaves it up to others to endorse his recipes. He knows they will like it. His pleasure is their pleasure and their pleasure is his. He shares his love for food. He always serves himself smaller portions than the others. He rarely has seconds. His strategy is to be seen to have restraint then pounce when back in the kitchen as he clears the dishes and devours the leftovers.
At meal times, in company, Carl is preoccupied with how others see him; if he eats little, then they might not see him as overweight or vulnerable; in reality he is average and fragile.
Distracted in conversation by the sight of a particularly crispy looking, lone roast potato, Carl finds ways of deflecting attention and continues to stalk his prey until it reaches the kitchen where it can be relished.
Carl seeks pleasure, he craves distraction and comfort; he likes food more than he likes most people, food gives him pleasure, people just give him grief.
Carl is plagued by his relationship with food. In the presence of food, there is ongoing conflict and a seamlessly never-ending battle of wills.
Throughout the day, his determination to reduce his intake diminishes with every nut, cracker, slice of bread and biscuit he consumes, quickly and efficiently before being spotted. He enjoys those times; he craves the textures, savours the smells and absorbs those comforting carbs.
Carl and food have always been at odds; a long-standing relationship that has endured sadness and regret. He knows it isn’t really about liking the food, it’s about liking Carl but food is easier to love.
He imagines himself slimmer for summer or a few pounds lighter by the weekend, a waist size down or at least looser fitting trousers by August? His wardrobe bulges with trousers he might one day get back into and loose-fitting tops that are now fitted. After a few days of restraint, when his trousers feel liberated, Carl feels emancipated and goes in search of more, and other opportunities for stolen moments. The love affair continues…