March 15, 2012

Toast

Toast

Today I decided to make a piece of toast. I don’t know why. I woke up and looked up at the ceiling, and thought; sod the yoghurt, I’m going to have toast. There was something thrilling about the decision. It was like the time at school, when my friend and I decided to run behind the bike shed and share a cigarette. I lay there and imagined how I would take the slice, would it be one or two? And how I would place it, slowly, into the toaster. She came into my room, humming a tune. I lay there and said nothing. She drew back the curtains and picked out some clothes from my cupboard. I went through the motions of getting ready. All the time thinking about the toast. I answered her questions politely. I did not once let her guess my plan. She wheeled me into the kitchen. I saw the bowl of yoghurt on the table. The stainless steel spoon next to it. She pushed me into position in front of it. ‘You can leave me now’. I said. She looked surprised but left without a word. I waited a couple of seconds, before, with some difficulty, wheeling myself to the fridge. I had to use both hands to open the door. My left hand started to spasm, but I managed to fight against it. The loaf was on the middle shelf. I lifted my right hand slowly; the burning sensation started in my fingertips and spread across my hand as I lifted it. The higher I reached my arm, the quicker the pain spread. It was at my elbow by the time I had reached the shelf. I grabbed at the bread; the blaze was clawing its way across my shoulder. I let the loaf fall into my lap and my arm drop down by my side. After a few seconds rest I pressed the button and wheeled myself over to the toaster. I struggled to undo the plastic packet; my fingers were stiff and uncompromising. But after a minute I had a piece of bread clenched between them. I decided to just have the one piece. I reached over to the toaster, it spread faster this time, hot stings shooting down my arm, across my shoulder and over my back. I battled against it and hit the switch. I sat back breathlessly. I watched the coils inside the toaster glow as they warmed the bread. I imagined how delicious it would taste, warm and crispy. It shot up suddenly, golden brown and lightly steaming. The thought of having to reach over again exhausted me. But then I heard her in the next room and feared she might come in and try and take it out herself. I reached over, the pain was almost unbearable, and little drops of perspiration collected themselves around the nape of my neck. I dropped it into my lap and slumped against my chair. After a few seconds I looked down at it and thought; ‘This is the best bloody piece of toast I have ever seen’.


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