“Ah, I’m stuffed.” She leaned back in her chair, arching her back and stretching her legs. Her hands rested on her stomach. She stared up at the ceiling for a second and drew a large breath. She looked over at me and cocked her head. “I think for the first time in my life I’m too full for a cigarette. “
I was still finishing the last slice of the pizza. She had ordered her favorite- potato wedge. I worked my way down the slice, munching the austensibly cheese pizza base and the baked potato wedge on top. It was a lot to handle for me, and I’m a walking dumpster. She, on the other had and taken down her half like a pro, she barely spoke, seemingly barely even came up for air.
Outside the snow reflected the orange sky. I’ve always been confused when cloudy nights in winter glow orange, I’ve always assumed its the lights of the city- streetlights, car lights, buildings, all together glowing orange against the puffy dark clouds above.
She closed her eyes for a few seconds. I paused for a moment with her, my mouth full of potato.” I guess, I am just fuller, more full,” she thought for a second, “whatever, grammar, than I think I’ve ever been.”
I laughed covering my mouth incase any bits flew out. “Yeah I’m feeling your pain.”
“Then stop eating.”
“Na I’m a lifetime member of the clean plate club. “
“What? What club is that?”
I laughed again. “Yeah na, it’s a joke parents in the States make. Or well my parents did, I can’t speak for the rest really. The clean plate club means you finish all your food.”
“Ah,” she rubbed her stomach.” So the club dues require you finish all meals. “She smiled at me, I tried to smile back, still working on the mouthful of starches I was chewing.
I swallowed. “Yeah, and as a member in good standing, I don’t want to be put on probation or, god forbid, be suspended. “
“Or expelled” she said with a heavy happiness.
“Egad” I replied before taking a bit of the crust.
Her eyes wondered, I guess lost in thought. “I like that idea. The clean plate club, I like the sound of it, it sounds nice. I guess it could lead to overeating, but I like the idea of making it an honor to not waste food.” She trailed off and stretched. She looked out the window but her eyes seem to be focused on a spot far further than the building next. Suddenly she turned to me and asked “ Do you think I can be a member?” She smiled and I almost laughed the crust right out of my mouth.
“Well,” I assumed an air of competence, “There are fairly strict requirements, rights of passage and sharing of procedures. And the sacred, secret handshake of course.”
“Of course, clearly” she interjected, smile reached record width.
“Yes, well, as a member in good standing, a nearly lifetime club associate, and if my dad’s waistline is any indication, I’m probably a legacy too- I am in a position to recommend you, and your work this evening with the pizza is exemplary. Now there is the matter of the induction fee, but I’m sure that’s no problem for you.”
“Oh fees? Do I get some sort of certificate, or better,” she sat up, “some sort of uniform like the boy scouts with badges for things you eat like a burger badge for clearing a big ass burger or something, or a soup badge for drinking a gallon of soup.”
“A gallon?” I asked, “That seems excessive.”
“Well honestly I don’t remember how much is in a gallon, but provided it won’t kill you, or won’t kill everyone, we need to thin the ranks a bit am I right? Let’s do it.”
I laughed so hard I thought I was going to puke. The very concept was beautifully absurd, just like her. “Yeah,” I continued after regaining my composure. “I don’t think my parents really developed the idea that far, but I like your spunk, you’ve got club president written all over you, though the ‘thinning the herd’ idea is a bit scary, but let’s hope you’ll moderate in office.”
She laughed and I finished the pizza as she grabbed beers from the fridge. “Is there a clean cup club for drinking?”
“There is now.” I said with a laugh.