Update: This is an early draft.  An expanded version of this story can be found here

Julia took another bite of her Moro bar, spat it out, and burst into tears again. Five kilos in two months. She just kept getting fatter. It wasn’t fair. Cindy had quit smoking without gaining all that weight – so why couldn’t she? Chocolate tasted good though. It was one thing that made Julia feel better. She was getting fatter, but at least she wasn’t smoking. As for her prick of a (now ex) boyfriend – He’d simply said he’d prefer a smoker to a lard-ass before dumping her. Wasn’t she suffering enough already? Her ex was a total dick.

Across the street, Julia noticed a plump young mother screaming at her young child outside the supermarket. The child, maybe five years old, was also plump and screaming – throwing a classic tantrum. The exasperated and shaking young mother lit herself a cigarette and then comforted the child with a bag of sweets from her handbag. Julia’s emotions were riding a rollercoaster now, as the scene playing out before her smashed through the fog of her depression. Both child and mother were quiet now, but were either of them happy? Suddenly, Julia’s Moro bar was an illusory pleasure, just a drug, no more a pleasure than the cigarettes she had given up. The child, already overweight, was being trained to consume sugar as a solution to every problem. Julia was doing the very same.

For the first time in two months, Julia laughed out loud. She stood up, squashing the remainder of the chocolate under her shoe with a grim satisfaction, as if it were some disgusting bug. She didn’t need the comfort foods. She was free to be herself, by herself. She forgot her ex. Cindy’s house was nearby. They hadn’t seen each other for a while. Smiling, Julia set off on a gentle run.


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