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The love of food

A mother of a storm was giving the Mother City a beating. Winter raged outside suburban homes bending trees furiously as if on steroids; lifting shingles off roofs, cracking branches and leaving dogs to howl and hide out in fear. Letterboxes swayed precariously in the dark of midnight, unsteady like a drunk heading out of a bar after a heavy night's drinking. Windows were shut tight, the wind making it rattle in it's frames and the rain splattered on glass; racing rivulets changing to streams as the torrent continued unabated for the third day in a row. The sound of thunder roared in the distance, droning like it was coming from the room next door: Boom! Rumble!

Jenny shivered.
She was terrified of storms.
She had walked home through an equally bad storm when she was 9, got disorientated and lost, and wound up spending an eternity in a deserted Wendy House at the back of a bottle store. She'd taken a wrong turn and landed up in the "bad" part of town her mother had warned her never to go. She had cried for a 3 solid hours, her tiny body racked by cold, her lips turning blue. She used her haversack as a seat, sitting down in her wet school clothes on her book bag. She prayed none of the homeless people she had stumbled across would land up there. The place reeked of urine and the mustiness of old clothes. The stench clung to her like a second skin and she gagged through her tears. She reached into her bag to find her tissues and felt wet paper. She pulled out a handful, saw the heading "LONG DIVISION" written in her bold handwriting on torn paper. She knew her books were ruined,and she cried out even louder. She heard a scratching on the door and it burst open, two drunks pouring inside.
Jenny shrieked, made a dash for the door, leaving her bag behind. Hands grabbed at her, grubby, slippery hands, but she pulled free, losing a pom pom in the process. She ran blindly out into the storm  fearing for her safety.
"Wait, be careful, little girl!" she heard a voice croaking behind her, but she didn't look back.

They eventually found her at a bus stop, soaked to the bone, her one plait had come undone and was matted to her head, her duffle coat clinging to her numb, tiny frame.
"80 divided by 4 ...4 goes into 8...."
Over and over she mumbled sums to keep her fear at bay.
She kept on mumbling long after she was safely tucked in bed.

Jenny shivered.
50 and still terrified of storms.
She snuggled into herself, warm hands on a hotter body; her body warmed by fleecy pj's, electric blankets, and deep sleep. She hugged herself tightly; arms crisscrossed around a thickening middle. It felt strangely comforting as she smiled a sleep smile, feeling cushions & curves. Her body was blossoming, spreading out, middle age settling on her middle, her thighs...settling everywhere, her love of food consuming her.
Her body thankful, for not being on diet, for not being denied the pleasure of food. She loved this body, not tiny or tight, but soft and pliable, warm and welcoming: "come hither," it beckons.
Sated and satisfied; wilful and well-fed.
He loved her bits, loved her throughout all the phases of her body wars. She reached for him, he drew her in, their bodies fitting together like the pieces of a puzzle. He locked his arms around hers like a shield. He knew her well, knew all her stories from beginning to end, even the dark ones she buried deep. He was her navigator, steering their way through life carefully, to protect her, to make her feel safe.

"Don't be afraid," he said, the sound of thunder nearly drowning him out.
"Try to get some sleep, darling, the Maths Olympiad starts early in the morning and a thousand young minds will be descending on us."

"I'm hungry," she said, "let's get us some hot milk and honey...and a slice of the date crumble!"
Her love of food  greater than her fear of storms.
His love for her greater than his need for warmth.
"Sounds yummy," he said pulling the covers back gently, "you stay here."
A look of fear crossed her face.
He raised the blankets snugly till under her chin, switched on her Ipod to Groban, placed the earphones gently in her ears and let the music soothe her.
"Be right back!"

The aroma of honey and cinnamon wafted from the kitchen and lingered in the bedroom. Her mouth watered and she licked her lips.
From her cocoon Jenny started counting the minutes till his return.

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