The packet was nearly empty. It stooped on the kitchen table, giving the impression of emptiness.
He inspected the wrapper. Three biscuits left in huddled together and some crumbs. Three biscuits but only one of which was intact. To be honest it was one biscuit and two disassembled biscuits. And some crumbs.
Plain, wheatmeal biscuits. Nothing fancy or exotic. No filling, no icing, no chocolate. He took a broken one. Crumbs spelled down his secondhand jumper. He brushed them off catching the big crumb to eat. Waste not want not. It had been the culinary highlight of his day. He didn’t mind. He didn’t want a culinary highlight. He wanted nothing today. He wanted to write his way out of his malaise. It had worked before. A cathartic experience. Telling the world how miserable he was seemed to lift the misery. A problem shared is a problem published is a problem read. Ok that maybe isn’t the case but it had worked for him before. Any writer that tells you they don’t care if others read their work is a liar. Writers bare their souls because it helps them to understand what is hurting it. Writers use provocative language to provoke a response. Why else would you?
The biscuit tasted good. Sweet but not sickly. Satisfying but not excessive. Just enough. His mother prided herself on that adage. It can’t be too tasty because that was decadent and we can’t display decadence. It must not be too rich because it might spoil your dinner or tea or whatever came next. A broken plain biscuit fitted the bill nicely. Reserved but pleasing. He reflected on his consumption. Was it necessary? Did it fill that hole? He didn’t feel hungry afterwards so it must have. Did it make him happier? Well no frankly. It wasn’t laced with Prozac or dipped in whisky. It wasn’t a magic biscuit. He didn’t know what would make him happy. Certainly not food. Or drink. Smoking made him ill and anyway it was years since he gave up.
Coffee was his latest drug of choice. Strong black coffee. Great at the time however the tiredness some hours later was not good. Maybe the tiredness was symptomatic of his mood? He wasn’t sleeping well and woke early every day. The coffee did pick him up when he went downstairs but it was an artificial pick me up. The biscuits however. They were momentarily satisfying. He went through life stepping from one happy moment to another. Sometimes the moments were far apart and the water was cold and deep between. Sometimes the moments were tiny but close together. This was easier to step on. Maybe others swim in happy waters and navigate between bad moments. Maybe people don’t think of this and just get on with their lives. Maybe they go to the food cupboard and take out the biscuit tin. They open the lid and take out a whole one or two. They didn’t think to look in the collapsed packet stooping sadly on the kitchen table. Maybe that is the difference. He thought about the empty packet and not the whereabouts of the contents. He ate the broken and didn’t attempt the whole. Shit this was too many biscuit metaphors. And it wasn’t making him happy.