Day 4. I have been following the life story of Margaret Strover for the better part of the week now, from her uneventful childhood in the chilly North East to her somehow even more boring time at a private New England college. I have gained immense insight into the life of this woman in her late 30s who feels like she could have done more with her life but is not complaining about where she ended up. Every day my children ask when will we have some food. I keep lying to them that Margaret will surely get to her grandmother’s chicken recipe soon, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep it up.
Day 6… I think. Time has slowly started to lose any and all meaning. My children might have died or gotten children of their own. I could be a grandparent for all I know. What I’m certain of is that I now know all the names of Margaret’s cats and how she considers them her “paw’ed children.” I hear a sound coming from behind me. I turn but in my emaciated, hungry state I hallucinate horrible cat-humans coming at me in a frenzy. I suspect it was actually my real-life kids boiling old books for soup in search for some nutrients. No sign of the recipe so far. I tell myself I’ll give it another 3,000 pages and then I’ll quit.
Day 10. Margaret actually said that her vacation in Ohio was the most fun a human being could ever have and nothing will ever change her mind. I laugh because my body has no more water within it for tears. This is a joke, I yell into the empty void that my life has become. There never was any recipe! I’m actually in hell and this is my punishment for all the times I refused to sit still and listen to my elderly aunt’s boring stories. Now I have to learn about the medical histories of each and every one of Margaret’s aunts, uncles, and cousins. “Hahaha,” I whimper quietly as I slump in my chair with images of chicken dancing in my head, always remaining somehow beyond my reach.
Day 12. I take back everything I said before. This online chicken recipe is the greatest work of English literature in history. I have grown to love all the characters and their lives. I want to know how cousin Ernie’s hernia operation went. I want to know if Stefanie ended up leaving her mean husband Jake. I want to know if Margaret ever visited Paris or… oh wait, here’s the chicken recipe: “Flour, salt, and pepper.” It should make for a nice entrée at my kids’ wake.