Yves Jeffcoat is a writing student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is a staff writer at BurnAway and lives in Atlanta, GA.
My Life: A Memoir
I told my boyfriend I’d never have children because I’d be too afraid I’d eat them.
“What the fuck?” he said.
“Yeah, you know,” I said. “I’m actually writing a memoir about my life and all my problems right now. Let me read you what I have so far.”
“Sorry Em, I got too much to do.”
“You’re sitting on your ass, Evan.”
“Well, someone’s gotta do it.”
“Come on, shouldn’t you be supporting me? My coworkers read it. At least they support me.”
“Oh, you’re pulling that one out again.” He yawned and patted the sofa seat next to him. “Come sit down.”
“I’ll fuck you if you listen.”
“Right, read on then,” he said, resting his feet on the coffee table. I picked up the red piece of construction paper that I’d written my memoir on, squinting to read the gray ink.
“Okay. The title is My Life: A Memoir—
The first thing I remember eating is two chicken tacos with bleu cheese and hot sauce on them.
When I was six, I had three meatballs covered in tomato sauce with a salad on the side.
There was one year I didn’t eat any meat at all. I lost 20 pounds that year.
One time a cafeteria lady slopped two spoonfuls of chili on my plate and asked me if I wanted some carrots. I said no.
I couldn’t stand it when my mom gave me chicken thighs. I hate chicken thighs. ‘I want breasts!’ I screamed at her every time she gave me thighs.
Once, when I was trying to do homework, my dad was cooking ribs on the grill. The scent wafted up through the windows and I got so distracted that I slobbed all over my paper. The next day, I told the teacher that I didn’t have my homework because I slobbed all over it. She told me she was happy that at least my dog didn’t eat it. I told her I would have eaten it if I hadn’t slobbed all over it.
My 9th birthday cake looked like a cheeseburger. I got mad that it didn’t actually taste like a cheeseburger so I threw it on the floor. My friends didn’t want it anymore, but I ate it anyway.
There was this one time I considered taking a bite of my baby sister’s arm.
If spinach is a leaf, then why didn’t my mom force me to eat grass, too?
Is there meat in Heaven?
Last Halloween, I dressed up as a porkchop. Everybody thought I was lean, but I wasn’t. I was the fattest of porkchops, the kind you drizzle a bunch of sauce and condiments over.
I told my boyfriend Evan I’d never have children because I’d be too afraid I’d eat them.
When we went to the zoo, I watched a panda chew on bamboo shoots with cool ease. What I would give to have those incisors.
I can’t remember anything that doesn’t have to do with food. My mom says I’m just imagining things, but how can I not imagine the only thing that exists in my imagination?
My mom says she was obsessed with sushi when she had me, and that’s why I look like a fish with ginger hair. I told her I couldn’t be a fish because I eat fish. No way I’d be a cannibal.
…And that’s all I got.”
Evan looked at me like I had chicken lips.
“Emily…how could you write ‘I told my boyfriend Evan I’d never have children because I’d be too afraid I’d eat them’ if you hadn’t said that to me yet?”
“I knew I would, I got that mind-force that’s screwing with my neurons and making me all psychic,” I said, waving my hands around my head so he could visualize the psychic energy field that surrounded it. “Mom told me—I think, although I don’t really remember.”
“Oh, right, that makes sense,” he said, chugging down his last Yuengling, scratching his underarms. “How about that sex?”
“Can’t right now. I gotta write some more. You know, this could turn into something.” I sat down at the bar in the kitchen and bit into a slice of a papaya I got at Whole Foods. And I started writing.
When I was 27, I got this juicy papaya from Whole Foods. And there were potatoes and fiber-rich cereals and energy bars and cherry tomatoes and croissants and gluten-free vanilla frostings and zucchini and ginger muffins and carrot cakes and golden delicious apples and spinach. So I got stuck in there for hours just smelling and touching everything and finally a manager came up to me and said, ‘Miss, you can’t go touching all the food items. It’s unhygienic.’ And I just stared at him and saw that he had lips like licorice and beef jerky hair. It was then I knew I had to leave. Because I had a boyfriend at home that liked to cook.”
I heard Evan call my name from the bedroom.
“What?” I yelled back at him.
“You said you’d have sex with me if I listened,” he shouted back.
“No I didn’t,” I screamed back.
“Yeah you did,” he said, “and stop screaming.” He was in the living room now.
“Well, I don’t remember. Did I say it would involve food?”
“I don’t think so. Why?”
“Hmm.” I scribbled on the paper:
There was one time I’d told my boyfriend I’d only have sex with him if there were avocados and limes involved.
“Sorry Evan, I can’t, my mind-force is on super-mega-overload right now and I gotta get it all out on paper. Can’t you just wait a little longer?”
He said “Shit” and took a bite out of my papaya.
And I continued to think about food.
And I continued to pretend the only thing I could think about was food.
And I continued to write about my food-specific memory disorder.
And I continued to neglect Evan to write about my food-specific memory disorder.
And I continued to write about neglecting Evan.
And I continued to write about writing about neglecting Evan.
And I continued to bullshit My Life: A Memoir.