When I was growing up, Sunday was an important day for our family. We always sat together at lunchtime for a traditional roast dinner. My mum would be in the kitchen, chopping potatoes, peeling carrots, preparing the meat. I can remember the smell. The beautiful smell of roast potatoes and cooking chicken. The smell that filled the house, as we anticipated that delicious meal. I loved it.
Those Sunday lunches punctuated my childhood. A weekly routine of indulgent food and family love.
I don’t often go back and read my old posts. But this morning, one caught my eye.
I don’t know why. Perhaps it was the reference to Sunday. It’s a post I wrote in mid-December, about my ambivalent views towards recovery. The title is a vague attempt at wordplay, taken verbaitim from a song sung so painfully by Johnny Cash, and used to refer to my weight coming down, and the conflicted emotions that causes me.
I love Johnny Cash’s music, and this morning, inspired by my own post, I listened to that song for the first time in a long time.
And the lyrics hit me in a way that they never have before.
“Then I walked across the street and
caught the Sunday smell
of someone frying chicken.”
Today, my mum will cook that same lunch that defined my childhood. The nostalgic scent of roasting vegetables is already wafting up to my room. But today, for me, that lunch will be nothing more than a nostalgic scent. I will not eat it. I will sit alone, separated from my family by the prison of anorexia. I will hear the distant chatter. The laughter. I will be apart from the fun, the food, the love.
“And Lord it took me back to something
that I lost somehow
somewhere a long the way”