I know, what the heck is she talking about now? It seems as though several times in the past few weeks I wake up in the morning only to find my night table covered with empty food wrappers. I find bits of chocolate melted on my duvet cover, Tootsie Roll Pops which have been devoured, right down to their puny little white sticks. That pisses me off. I love to suck on my Tootsie Pops, savoring the sweet layers of sugar until finally my tongue detects that rough little ball of chocolate nougat in the center. Y-U-M-M!! But no-o-o-o, apparently when I am sleep eating I crunch through everything, like a power eater trying to break some kind of food Olympic record.
It only seems to happen when I have had an especially emotional day, and two days ago was a whopper for me. I attended a family gathering to celebrate my late husband’s (why do they say “late husband” when he is not late, he is missing, gone, never coming back?) life. It was the same morning my throat was sore from yackety-yakking-- seemingly non-stop, single throatedly trying to fill up a void left by Lance’s running baseball commentary, or his funny jokes in fact all of the amusing sounds he could fill a room up with just by being present.
His family, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother, mother and friends all got together to share stories, comfort and eat. I didn’t get to eat much, even though it was a lovely catered affair. I don’t do well at buffets. Lance hated them, which could be part of why I don’t do well with them. I can never decide what to get...so usually end up with a few carrot sticks, some jicama, hummus, a spinache dip and a finger sandwich of some sort. Healthy, but hardly filling, especially under such circumstances. I drank water when I could easily have knocked back a few vodkas...but besides his brother and mother, all eyes were on me. So, I picked judiciously, avoiding sweets and heading only for the savories.
I knew I was in trouble when I gave my car to the valet park at the condo complex...walked across the street, across a puzzle of squared off cement hiding places for Koi...a clever disguise for a meandering stream, but frightfully dangerous when you are not looking down at the checkerboard pattern. Frankly it is a wonder anyone over the age of 80 even made it inside without needing a change of clothing or worse. I was happy to be in my suede flats, ever so practical for a change.
Once inside I felt the swivel of 50 necks in my direction. Gulp. Then the onslaught of, “How ARE you? We are so sorry...” and my eyes welled up and the water scaled over the carefully waterproof mascara’d eyelid dams and spilled down my face. Someone handed me the box of Kleenex from the table. So much for the brave front. All bets were off.
Several hours later, as I drove home, the entire afternoon replayed in my head. I got home around six-thirty. Cesar had come up to feed the dogs, and hopefully prepare some hot nourishment for me. Uh, no.
“Do we have any soup Cesar?” I asked, while looking around the pristine kitchen. Cesar is the cook we hired six years ago so I didn’t have to do the after dinner dishes...which I dodn’t, but ...well, suffice it to say he doesn’t seem to remember what his whole job is; cooking is definitely a part.
“Some frozen split pea in the freezer.” He smiled, arms crossed.
Oh. “Any chicken soup?” I asked, hoping for a sore throat soothing.
He smiled, leaning on my table he said proudly, “Four cans of it in the pantry.”
He watched me open a can, plop it in a big old mug and nuke it until it steamed. “You can go home now.” I took a drink, eager to go to bed and look through a photo album given to me of my husband at the past three years baseball games. A snuggle in on a cool night with a mug of soup and my sweety.
I suppose the emotional void I felt that night could only be achieved by eating something more, that is when my sleep eating took over. I may get that fat suit yet folks....but I am going to buy better food for my bedroom cabinet, just in case.
*I should tell you it has happened only twice since my husband died, both times while on the sleeping pill in the news...I feel fortunate I am not driving to Mickey D’s!! No refilling this prescription!