She patiently bit into the succulent meat, after extending the anticipation up to the point of virtual pain; the sauce dribbling down her lips. She couldn’t have cared less, except maybe for the precious drops of this heady concoction that she lost. The aromatic flavours of ginger and garlic, basil and thyme bursting over her tongue, the meat caressing it into a sense of comfort while the herbs and spices jolted it awake, as if from a deep slumber, after a vivid dream.
She tried to summon up a measure of guilt, for being a lucky, but unworthy mortal who has done nothing to earn this meal, and thought about all the hunger that resided in her country, instantly conjuring up images of emaciated bodies with swollen bellies and protruding ribs, visions that she only needed to step out of the posh restaurant to make real. It worked, a little. But the realization that she needed thousands of hungry children in order to behave in a socially appropriate manner disgusted her.
Besides, the lure of the dish in front was too strong. She pushed those thoughts away, the guilt would be handled later. For now, she’ll embrace this feeling of infallibility. The mystery of death will be an alternate reality.
She fought the urge to close her eyes and savoured this epicurean pleasure, trying not to broadcast this experience for the world to see. The man sitting across from her wouldn’t appreciate it. Or maybe he would understand. But she was too busy to pursue that thought further. His lips moved again. But she had zoned out a long time ago. Nothing existed but the food - and her taste buds. She wasn’t a sociopath or a misanthropist; far from it. But then she didn’t give a single thought to the human hands who had created the experience for her, because that was what the food was.
By now the ice had melted in her cocktail enough to dilute the excessive sweetness. She was in a bubble and nothing could touch her. No pain could reach her, no social etiquette ordered her around. This was good, and she wanted it to last.
As soon as the last morsel was gone, she would have to face the world again. All the repressed emotions and regrets will catch up, and the anxiety will reign once again. She will be an insignificant bag of bones with no feast waiting for her; nothing achievable insight.
She will have to see the man across fussing over her, worried over her lack of grief, while she hated herself for the tiny sliver of remorse she felt on the death of the man who used to take the little girl to secret places to have 'fun’.