Second Helpings

by Amy Simonson

"Food is my most favorite thing in the whole, wide world, and I dream about it every night!" the little girl exclaims at dinner. The mother ignores her husband’s sardonic head shake, and smiles at her eight-year-old cherub across bowls of creamy mashed potatoes, crisp sage stuffing and buttery glazed carrots. She thinks to herself, I’ve never comforted or rewarded with food like my parents did, so where does she get her infatuation with food? She glimpses a future where her chubby teenaged daughter sits home on Friday nights watching TV and cuddling up with bags of Doritos and packages of Tastykakes, rather than cheering on her high school’s football team and hanging out with friends. The mother’s broad smile morphs into a frown and tears moisten her eyes. She pushes her plate away, and surreptitiously slides her hand beneath the table to loosen the top button of her jeans.

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Amy Simonson is a wife, mother, and former Labor and Delivery nurse. She writes from northeast Ohio, and her short story, "Third Shift," was published this past April in the anthology Workers Write! Tales from the Clinic (Blue Cubicle Press). She's currently slogging through the third draft of her second novel.