Full Text: Yolk Held In A Basket Of Fingers

Content Warning: disordered eating

Custard is this. It has aches, aches when. This makes a whole little hill.[1]

Maybe you’re growing again. These are things we need to know. And not know. Is it iron your body needs? Is that…? I’m starting to worry, she says but her voice giddyups, & she holds the laugh in her cheeks. I stack three dozen in the cart. I am 17, maybe.
And now I am 20,000 eggs under the sea, I am 20,000 questions, but I ask only two. How do you know? & How many is— My classmate stands up.
Everyone thinks eggs are bad for you,[2]
I ride my mom’s bike to a community yoga class. It is donation-based and I never have any money, but I feel quiet afterwards, and at home I stand over the pan and watch the wet curds come together.
but that’s a myth.[3] Mercury is in retrograde and my friend is depressed but they cackle with delight when I tell them. My girlfriend makes a dumb joke, something about fertility, or sex.
Scrambled, almost always. A bit soft. I am starving. All the time. I only want eggs. Butter. Salt.

Gooses. Geeses.[4] One afternoon I sit down to a paper plate and steaming four. A hill too steep for me to climb. Eggs: Are They Good Or Bad For You? New Research Rekindles—

You can eat lots of eggs,[5]

like two a day.[6]
My stepmom’s arm rattles as she talks, cheerfully, the fork squinches against cast iron. I’m sleepy and I get a pile of little glistening bulbs. I’m not sure at first, but I learn to drop the tip of my fork in ketchup before scooping up the jostling pieces. I take care to avoid the shore of tomato-water surrounding the hill.
I don’t remember what I ate for lunch during this time, though I know I must have eaten. Lunch was at eleven. I didn’t know yet how to boil them in their shells and still want the middle, though I must have done. I must, I loved egg salad but this was not an egg salad time. This was an egg time. I must, have, I must, packed them in sandwich bags, naked, salted. Must have tucked them into my backpack.
And now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs.[7]

Researching this shifting battlefront, I come across the hint of a folk cure for alcoholism, which runs in my family on both sides. Owl’s eggs. I spend two hours in an increasingly desperate search for details, or a Scholarly Source. I add words like Pliny, English, Screech. I find an article in the British Journal of Inebriety, and Mercury refuses to let me read it. I find a mention of eggs curing drunkenness and toad-water for alcoholism, but cannot reach their sources, and as I grasp, the possibility of the egg-cure evaporates.

I’ve been eating too many, though.[8]
The pan is hot, butter brown. My mom rests her hand on the back of her hip, the small of her back, the hip, the weight shift. Quickly passes the bowl under a soft running tap, the sun is bright. These are more like chunks; they are friendlier with cheese. I learn to crack one extra, after the final count.
In Champaign, IL, eggs are very, very, inexpensive. I went to the market just for eggs and left them there! I left them.
And now that I’m grown my egg has no bubbles after being left alone a while. I’ve been good. I’m going to have a good new year. I am having the worst year of my life.[9]

I only slow down when anxiety lurches in self-consciousness. I wonder if I am pretending, a small voice behind my liver asks if I am mad or if I want to be mad, I know this is not how other people eat, I don’t know

These are things we need to know. And not know. I mix in crème fraiche. I forget to break the yolks, and have to search for blossoms of orange in an opaque sea. I want to care about eating, I want to pile my basket full of roses and butter and other smells, not care what I spend. I pretend to be this person. I align oranges and custard and chili jam. I cluster these jewels close to one another, and it is so beautiful but it does not.

[1] Stein, Gertrude. “Custard” in Food. Penguin Random House UK. 2018. First published in Tender Buttons, 1914.
[2] Is this True? I have seen the magazines at the checkout line. But, I hadn’t noticed, wasn’t aware a consensus had been reached. It’s relative, it depends on your nutritional goals. Right? This is not A Thing That I Think. Who is everyone? Is it cultural? Do Brits think of eggs as junk food?
[3] I knew about the magazines. But for something to reach the status of myth… I must be missing something big. Certainly there are many people who .  . .   .
[4] I want a feast. I want a BEAN FEAST. Cream buns and donuts and fruit cake with no nuts.
[5] What constitutes a lot? How many is many? Does ‘can’ mean that it (a lot) is recommended? Or merely acceptable. By whom does this come to us and what is their reasoning?
[6] Two? 2? Is two not the standard number for one meal in which eggs are the guest of honor? If two is lots does that mean only one meal of eggs per day is acceptable? If one has fried eggs for breakfast, a snack of hard broiled or pickled egg is not acceptable? What happens if a frittata appears at dinner?
[7] Now, he is roughly the size of a barge. When he was a lad, he ate four dozen eggs every morning to help him get large.
[8] I cannot take this anymore. I ask. The answer is four. I am reeling. How did she know how many is too many? If “lots” is two, and four is “too many”, how many eggs is the right amount? My roommate eats two eggs on two toasts with two scribbles of ketchup for breakfast every morning. Did a healthcare worker or nutrition study say this? What does it do to the body to have four? More than four? What about a half dozen every day? How does one know they have had too many? Do they feel something in their body? Or does it happen invisibly, locked away where bloodwork results live?
[9] Thus far