For all 2 of you who have read this far (thanks Mom), here is the grand finale.
The Stone Woman, finale
By Lab Rockstar
Slowly, she reached out and picked up the biscuit. She had to force herself to take the first bite, but the pleasure she saw in her new friends’ eyes made it easier to bear. Around and around the crumbly biscuit went inside her mouth as she chewed. She swallowed it down. Looking at the remaining biscuit half, she suddenly wanted her little legal pad where she could write something like why am I surprised that biscuits still taste like biscuits? Her stomach gurgled—there was something real, something fluid and soft, still there.
She looked up at Mrs. Scofield, who was ladling stew into Gail’s bowl. The scent of the stew was savory and sweet, and it steamed as Mrs. Scofield poured it. Gail hesitated, and then picked up her spoon. Guilt tried to make her set it down again, but under the gaze of her old teacher and his wife she pushed the feeling away. Big pieces of carrot and potato peeked out of thick broth as she plunged the spoon in.
As the stew met her lips and filled her stomach, Gail felt suddenly warmed inside. She lifted the spoon to her mouth over and over. She couldn’t speak; all of her senses were trained on the hearty, homemade stew. After several bites, her vision seemed clearer and her body felt lighter.
When dinner was gone, the Scofields collected the dishes and bowls and brought them to the sink. Gail’s belly was soft, full, and just a little nauseated. It wasn’t such a bad feeling, though, and the stone-voice in her brain was silent. She touched her waist under her sweater. The flesh was still hard, but under the skin were her muscles and organs, unprotected by fat. This is the way it has always been, she said to herself. How did I let myself get so thin?
“You can eat dinner with us again tomorrow,” Mr. Scofield said to Gail. “And if you feel like talking, or going for a walk, I’ll be around.”
Gail agreed that she would, but right now she was truly tired. She could also see it in the Scofields: that special kind of tiredness that comes from eating a good meal. She made sure to thank them both before excusing herself to her room.
Once there, Gail turned on the little lamp and picked up her legal pad. She lay down on the bed and looked at the blank page. After a moment, she picked up her pen and wrote:
I’m lucky to have been loved so well.
Reaching over to the lamp, Gail switched off the light. As she got under the covers, she watched the snow swirling outside her window. She imagined it drifting in miniature foothills in the meadow and in the garden and thought it would probably end by morning. But she was no longer in a hurry to get back to Boston.
Gail closed her eyes. Softly, she lay in the darkness and loved Michael.