I don’t know why I have had watermelon for dinner for the past four days.
You cannot go wrong with watermelon for dinner in the same way that you can go wrong in life. Since I have gone wrong in life, I return to watermelon for dinner for a sense of coherence.
Watermelon has been a staple of my life for as long as I could remember. My passion for watermelon predates the scar that I have underneath my eyebrow after I ran into a metal pool during a game of freeze tag. My passion for watermelon predates the series of cringey interactions that defined my early love life. My passion for watermelon predates my sadness.
Is it so strange that I crave familiarity in my life at this point?
I would eat half a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. It has consistently been my breakfast for the past eight months, and I do not plan on changing it any time soon. Sometimes, I would eat a lunch. If I were feeling hungry, then I would eat some halal from the food truck next to Bryant park. If I were not hungry, then I would probably just make myself a coffee from my department’s coffee machine. Then, when I return home for dinner, whenever I return home, I would take a nap. It is a nice nap. For a moment, I forget that I even exist.
Then I am rudely awakened by the sound of my phone alarm. I curse myself for ensuring that I do not nap for more than 30 minutes. Responsibility. I would watch perhaps 15 minutes of YouTube videos on my phone, and then I would go the kitchen to pick up my watermelon. I would take my spoon and jab it into the oozing red flesh, twisting it to my heart’s content. Then I would devour my spoon without even a thought towards chewing the hunk of dripping red. Instead, I would use my tongue and press the meat onto my hard palate, letting the bloody juices squirt and squirm into my throat.
The process usually takes a couple of bites. When I eat, I am not satisfied in the slightest, if I am being honest. If anything, I am just eating for the sake of eating. There is still a part of me that reasons that I should eat a dinner, but there is very little of me that truly feels compelled in the slightest.
My parents used to call me 饭桶, which translates into ‘food bucket’. They would feed things to me, and I would be a bottomless pit for whatever food deemed unnecessary to save. Food would go into me without ever coming out ever again, at least, in the same form. Or, sometimes, ever. It is an endearing term, I think. And, even now, I take pride in being a food bucket.
Such description is quite apt. Although it describes quite a physical experience, I feel as if it also translates well into this period of my life. If emptiness were physical, then it would often feel as if I was a void… namely, a bottomless food bucket. Food, like my environmental stimuli, would go into me with no hopes of ever returning in the same state. Happiness would go in and come out as sadness. Excitement would go in and come out as anxiety. Fulfillment would go in and come out as emptiness. It is a state of negativity. But, nevertheless, a state of consistency. This is my equilibrium.
This is the instance that I ask, if I am a bottomless food bucket, then what is the point in eating at all?
All leads to naught.
Such is my answer to the myth of Sisyphus.
“Give up,” I would say to Sisyphus. “Let the boulder roll over you.”
Such is the vision of my attempt to find fulfillment in my life. Or, even at the very least, some semblance of happiness. But, as I have realized but have not come to accept ages ago, I was not destined for happiness. I, like a food bucket, is always destined to consume more without the prospect of change. Funny how some childish terms can carry so much weight later on in life.
Food goes in. Nothing comes out. Food goes in. Nothing comes out.
Experiences go in. Nothing comes out. Except sadness. Sadness always prevails. Experiences continue to go in. Sadness continues to come out.
So, now, I eat watermelon for dinner. Not because I want to, but because I can. There is still a part of me that believes I should eat a dinner. And, although I have accepted the eternal hunger of being a food bucket, this is not yet a part of me that I can kill. Slowly, but surely, I will live up to my expectations for Sisyphus. There is no point of eating. There is no point in hoping for happiness. It is a slow wait for death… and, of course, whatever I can do expedite the process. This is the curse of being a food bucket. The eternal hunger continues.
Of course, watermelon still tastes good. There are very few watermelons in the world that do not live up to my expectations. The nature for my desire to eat watermelon is sentimental, and very little of it is based in the taste. I think. I’m not sure. I still like watermelon. Whatever the case, I embrace the hunger of watermelon for dinner.