Something was different. They looked like eggs. They tasted like eggs. The bowl of grits looked like an ordinary bowl of grits. The toast was plain toast like many other pieces of plain toast.
And yet, after the fork touched the food, before reaching the mouth, the color of breakfast shifted, like the shadow from a cloud passing over the eggs. A pasty hue. A ropey taste that wafted and then concentrated toward the glands. An anxiety. Nerves in the upper chest, rising into the neck.
It was the calmity of death. Sitting, heavy, on the fork.
“What’s the matter?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“I’m not mad at you.”
“You’re acting like it.”
“Stop talking. Nobody asked you to come here.”
“It’s that space in your heart. You still can’t fill it.”
“You need to.”
“That’s my business.”
“That’s too much salt.”
“Leave me alone.”
One egg was enough. No grits. Only half a piece of toast.