Something tells me to be quiet, be careful, so I open the door slowly, just a crack to see what’s out there, and why should I do it so slowly? Why should I be so careful? I’m not sure, it’s something in my gut that tells me to do this so I do, and as the door finally opens enough to allow me a sliver of vision into the apartment I can see Marnie crouched over the trash can, shoveling handfuls of garbage into her mouth.
I don’t mean that in a cute way, like she’s eating junk food, I mean it in the very literal sense of the word: she is eating garbage, banana peels and fruit rinds and discarded yogurt straight from the plastic container. I watch her scoop the pink sludge greedily into her mouth, then drop the cup in search of more to devour.
I just stand there, staring at her through the crack in the bathroom door, my gorge rising as Marnie eats more and more from the trash. At some point she finds a coffee pod – the mocha one I’d made that morning – peels back the lid, and dumps the damp grounds straight down her throat.
I wait for her to stop but she doesn’t, she’s digging in deeper with both hands; I shut the door as quiet as I can. I think for a few minutes but I’m not sure what to do – in the past we’ve had some heart to hearts but there’s nothing in my hey-Marnie-let’s-not arsenal for this – so I just wait until the slurping, chewing, chomping grows quieter and finally fades away all together. Only then do I dare to stick my head outside and confirm Marnie’s not in the kitchen anymore. She’s shut herself in her bedroom again, and I note with dull horror that the parade-line of cockroaches I’d seen in my own room this morning is now slowly marching under her the crack of her closed door, one by one by one.
Lunch plans are, obviously, cancelled. I have no appetite and after the way she gorged herself like a pig on slop I can’t imagine Marnie can be very hungry either. I alternate between waiting in my room with an old can of ant-killer and hovering outside hers, trying to figure out how to breach the subject of her bizarre behavior. Do I pull some Dr. Phil shit and try to get her to admit it on her own? Pretend like I didn’t see anything and ask if she’s been feeling well lately? Or just cut to the chase and say “Why the fuck are you eating our garbage, you lunatic?”