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Elizabeth Zelvin: What I Love About You

Art by Hillary Lyon 2022




by Elizabeth Zelvin



"I love to watch you eat," he said.

I sat naked on the bed, devouring a hero from Faicco's in the Village. He lay propped up on one elbow admiring me. We had just made love.

A drop of golden olive oil escaped the sandwich and dribbled down my breast. He leaned forward to lick it off.

"You eat like a longshoreman," he said. "And you look amazing."

I took a big bite of crusty soft bread piled high with spicy deli meats and cheeses, roasted peppers, lettuce and tomato, and dressing. I moaned with pleasure. I managed not to swat away the hand he put on my thigh at the same moment.  

"Do you want to go again?" he said.

I managed not to snarl, I'm eating! "Maybe after I finish my hero."

"You're going to eat the whole thing?" He chuckled.

 I suppressed a growl and chewed faster. 

Sometimes sex will dissipate the anger.

"What do you love best about me?" I asked as we lay side by side in the aftermath. Say: my wit. My irrepressible energy. My virtuosity with a computer keyboard. Don't make me make allowances.

"I love the way you can eat and never gain an ounce," he said. "You must have the metabolism of a hummingbird."

"What if my metabolism stopped working?" I said. "What if I started gaining weight?"

"That's ridiculous," he said. "Your metabolism can't change. Could it?"

"Did you ever fall for a fat girl? Hook up with one, even?"

"Don't be ridiculous. There's nobody but you."

"Before me," I insisted. "Ever. Could you love a fat girl?"

"Of course not," he said. "What a disgusting thought."

So, fat girls are disgusting, and a rapid metabolism is lovable. You are dancing on the edge of the abyss, buddy.

"Do you know what bulimia is?" I asked.

"Yeah, isn't it that sick thing that girls do where they pig out and throw up like the ancient Roman emperors?"

"What do you think of bulimics?" The question came out smooth as ice cream going down.

"I'm supposed to have an opinion?" he said. "I don't know. They're sick, I guess, and kind of pathetic."

"Why do you think they do it?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't know any bulimics. Why are we talking about this?"

"Never mind," I said. "I made us dessert. Brownies for me and blondies for you, because you don't eat chocolate."

That's right, I knew all along it was going to end like this. It always does. I could have watched as he ate the blondies laced with rat poison, but the brownies were calling my name. It's complicated. Bulimia is two addictions: compulsive eating, and compulsive vomiting. They say addiction has no Why?. But there is a Why?. We keep hoping if we're thin, maybe we'll be loved.





Elizabeth Zelvin writes the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga. Her stories appear in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Liz also has a story in the anthology Jewish Noir II.

Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/                                    

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022