Today, she bought six dozen eggs and hard-boiled them twelve at a time in four separate pots on the stove, three to each. In ten minutes, the whites jellied and the yolk hardened. One year ago, Smith told her she needed to get her act together. That was after she filled the bathtub with Jell-O, to see what it’d feel like. Now she thinks, what a waste. She’s hungry and her tooth aches. She’s cold, the corner of her mouth bleeds; it looks like herpes, but she knows better. She hopes better anyway.
This time a year ago, Smith wiped red goop from behind her ears. Told her to squeeze her eyes shut and blow out her nose. Red snot everywhere. He helped her towel off and made sure the dog, Chester, stopped licking the clogged drain. Jell-O’s not good for dogs, he explained. Or bathtubs, but he didn’t mention that.
She considered cracking the eggs raw in the tub and climbing in. Egg yolk is supposedly wonderful for hair and her own looks straggled. But she remembered Chester and the choked drain and how the water wouldn’t go down all the way for months, not without returning first, shaded pink and smelling off—the rotten-sweet tang of garbage cans in summer filled to the brim with watermelon rinds, burst tangerines. She can’t stomach the punch of sulfur which is sure to come from eggs; she’s hungry. So.
It’s satisfying peeling them. They’re warm, supple. She bites into her first egg slowly, like kissing. The outside is smooth and moist like skin and she thinks of Smith, of his mouth on hers, his tongue forcing through and licking out Jell-O. Her tongue licks the ball of the egg, her teeth slice down. The uneaten half glares up from her palm like an eye. She licks her lips and catches a fresh spill of blood at the corner there, where the sore is.