Arthur grabbed the pen and paper I had left on the table. I had prompted him, at any point, to draw out what he was feeling. Art is the best way to funnel all the emotions felt in the heart, onto paper. He picked up the black pen and scribbled, loosely and without talking, a van sitting in the middle of a dark, dark forest. A lingering storm hung heavy overhead and faces of his wife and children were pressed up against the windows of the van.
A: I knew my family was in danger because of the hunger.
M: The… uh, hunger?
A: Yes, we were all so hungry. I got back to the van against my own judgment and Vera was complaining that she and the kids were absolutely starving. It had only been five hours since we ate and they were drooling at the mouth. So we reached into the backseat where the kids were and grabbed the rest of the food we had to last us the entire vacation. We sat there and ate every last bit. It was like… it was uncontrollable or something. We were just so damn hungry we couldn’t stop and control ourselves. And once the food was gone, we knew we were in trouble.
M: How did a small family of four sit there and devour that much food? Are you sure you packed enough in the first place?
A: We ate seven cans of soup, three boxes of crackers, five sandwiches out of a cooler, a box of pepperonis, a crate of chocolate chip cookies, two bags of chips, three bottles of pickles, drank a bottle of ketchup, two bottles of soda, and three bottles of orange juice.
M: All in one meal?
A: All in one meal. Absolutely.
M: Are you sure about that?
A: I’m sure. I know this because they found the van that night… they rescued me, and every last bit of food was gone.
M: What happened before the rescue?
A: After we ate all the food, the children fell asleep, but Vera and I were sitting there for the longest time with nothing to say to one another. I don’t know if it was anger because I knew she had gotten us lost, or just because she was so scared. For all I know, it could have been the hunger. We were both hungry. It was like something unspoken between us, just lingering there in the air. We knew we were starving but refused to say anything. I don’t think either of us wanted to sound crazy. We didn’t want to reflect on the fact that we had eaten enough food to feed a small banquet of people, all in one sitting, children included. So we just stared at each other until one of us spoke. It was Vera, of course. She always gives in.
M: And what did she say?
A: She told me that she couldn’t control the hunger anymore, and as soon as she said it, she licked her lips and wouldn’t take her eyes off of me. I… couldn’t understand what she was feeling. At first, that is.