I’ve stopped eating. It’s not a fast. It’s not like a liquid cleanse or something like that. I mean I’ve completely stopped eating. I no longer consume calories.
I know it’s hard to understand. It’s hard to explain.
It started last winter, a week after she left. It was just the beginning of winter in LA, which used to mean rain when we were kids. But hasn’t meant rain for the past five years. Those last five were bad years for rain and bad years for me and her. Some scientists predict that California’s in the beginning stages of a megadrought, something that could last 200 years. They say that the wet conditions we’ve known are the anomaly, that this recent dry spell is the norm. She said something similar.
But that day it did rain.
I was outside. I was doing the yard work, and it was early in the morning. Since I had just started, I just stayed out in the rain and kept working. It wasn’t a bother. It felt good actually. I worked all day. By noon the rain stopped. It was time for lunch but I skipped it. I kept working until the sun went down. Dinner time came and went. I didn’t eat. When I went in, I realized that I hadn’t eaten all day. I didn’t eat and I wasn’t hungry. Not at all. I just drank a glass of water and went to bed.
The next morning I felt okay, a little sluggish, a little – I don’t know how to explain this – a little droopy. But still, I wasn’t hungry. I drank another glass of water and went back outside to finish up with the yard. This time I didn’t work the whole day. I worked a little bit and then took a long break on the lawn chair. I pulled off my shirt and sat facing the sun. I sat there all day. As the sun moved, I moved my chair to follow until the sun finally set and I drank a cup of water and went to bed.
I didn’t eat. I wasn’t hungry.
It’s been going on like this ever since, every day. No eating, just water. And it gets weirder. I’m not losing weight. I’m gaining weight. Well, it’s not so much that I’m gaining weight, but that I’m getting bigger.
March, two months ago, I noticed my feet were sticking out past the edge of the bed. When I got up to get dressed, I pulled on my pants and they were too short by almost a foot. As I walked out of the house, I bumped my head on the doorjamb.
I went to the garage and got out a tape measure. I set it up against the wall and measured myself. I was 6’5”. That’s not right. I’m 5’10”. I’ve been 5’10” since I was 15 years old. But there it was.
She came over later that day.
She said, “You seem different.”
I said, “I’m taller.”
She said, “No, it’s not that. It’s something about you that’s different. I used to feel like I couldn’t breath when I was around you. But now.”
She inhaled deeply and smiled. I reached out to pat her on the hand, but when I touched her, she recoiled.
“Ouch,” she said. “You need to trim your nails.”
I’m not entirely sure what happened after that. She left, but not in an angry way. She might have said she’d come back to check on me. But she hasn’t. As for me, I kept growing. Eventually I stopped going inside the house. It was hard to get in through the door and I worried that I’d grow in my sleep and not be able to get out. So I stay in the yard now. I stand in the open patch of grass next to the pool. I’m there all day and night. When I’m thirsty, I just lean over and drink out of the pool. I still don’t eat. But I’m okay. I don’t even think about it anymore really. I really don’t. I could stand here forever or at least for a very long time. I could stand here, just breathing, breathing in the bad stuff, the waste, the poison, and breathing out something good, something good for a change.
“Photosynthesis” is the first story from the short story collection SCYANCE. Find more stories here.
- Photosynthesis is the process used by plants to harness energy from sunlight into chemical energy. During photosynthesis, light energy transfers electrons from water to carbon dioxide, which produces carbohydrates. In this process, CO2 is reduced, and water becomes oxidized, ultimately producing oxygen.