By Riham Adly

Ghosts from the future haunt me. I see the genesis of my new fat cells, all glorious and unhindered, going on strong in my belly and thighs. I get those flashes of premonition every time my feet carry me there—where I shouldn’t be.

Time Magazine picked its top One Hundred Influential Women carefully. None had the body shape of apples or even watermelons. They were all pears and peaches ripened to perfection.

I hear little Johnny cry, a hungry wail. He must be wiggling and kicking his little legs, shaking the crib a little. The musical mobile will distract him.

Cortisol level going down!  My mind screams. You have work to do.
“Mommy needs this. You need it too.”  I close my eyes and whisper, imagining the tight whorl of his baby ears.

In whiplashed seconds my serotonin-starved brain orders my limbs to barge straight into the, the….the kitchen—where I’m always defeated. At the worktable I line up my gear and all needed ammunition.

I whip my eggs just like a good mother gently pushes her kid on a swing, increasing momentum till it’s the right amount of swish.

Will I ever be the good mother pushing Johnny on a swing, one day?
I add the milk, never spilling a drop, unlike the tears I let loose down the furrows of my chubby cheeks.

I reach out for the vanilla powder from the cupboard. All I need is a pinch. My fingers rub the magic dust before its release. A little over the top and the magic does no good.

I add in the sugar and salt. Salt likes his sugar and sugar loves her salt leaving the baking powder jealous and always forgotten, but hey, I forget nothing.

I beat in the flour. Too much force−like when a man beats inside a woman against her will− is no good. I imagine flowers, imagine hand-pulling them out, before holding them up like I hold my Johnny. I love flowers, but yanking their roots from the soil is not love. Didn’t they fall off and die anyways? Maybe plucking them out is not so bad? Yes, not so bad at all.

When the batch is all whipped and ready, I pour a dollop on the greased pan and listen to the loud sizzle.

Johnny’s cries are louder than that sizzle.

I watch the edges of the batter curl up.  I flip when it’s just the right shade of gold, like the haze at dusk when I’m drunk on chocolate kisses. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some real kisses?

The nipples of my rock-hard breasts leak into my shirt like the dripping maple syrup I pour on the golden stacks. I bring the plate and rush to Johnny. I hold him with my free arm. I place the plate on the bed and scoop a mouthful. He opens his mouth and shuffles up my painful chest.

“Here you go, little fellow. Pancakes will make you happy.”

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