“A photograph is always invisible, it is not it that we see.” -Roland Barthes
Michael Lejeune says:
“Bacon bacon, slice of pig
You make my appetite oh so big
Sizzle in the pan, crackle pop and,
Get in my mouth as fast as you can!”
The song left a smile on Wayne’s face. It always did. His sagging cheeks pressed away from the grin that widened beneath them. He swallowed saliva. The eggs that were meant to go with the bacon did not cross his mind. They were in the carton in the fridge, forgotten for weeks now.
The bacon was too good. Anything else would get in its way.
The frying strips were hypnotic. They demanded his attention. The delicate pink and white flesh that edged into darker red, gently twitching under rapid bubbles of melted fat. First losing its satin flatness for glossy slick, then curling back and forth along the length of each strip, as though trying to shrink off the hot teflon surface of the pan.
Once, he bought the bacon from the store himself. Back when he was still able to leave his apartment. These days, his sister Sarah brought him his groceries. The diet program she had put him on out of concern for his health demanded almost no carbohydrates, and low-sodium bacon was to be a regular part of meals. The salty slabs became everyday’s breakfast, and occasionally dinner. Eating that and the other items on the plan, mostly meats and leafy vegetables, Wayne had lost forty-eight pounds in the first two months, despite frequent indulgences in portion size of his most coveted bacon.
And progress had continued to race. Once he understood that he could eat bacon—not just a little but a lot of it—and still lose weight, Wayne’s whole outlook changed. He became hopeful. His esteem soared. He started to watch self-confidence programs on TV, and even started working out at home.
Until very recently he’d been obese, and had been for more than two decades, ever since he’d gotten out of elementary school. Weight loss had been his primary goal for his entire adult life, and bacon, his first love, had always undermined progress. But now bacon would help him shed the extra fat instead of packing it on.
But Sarah never brought enough of it. She wouldn’t approve of how much he ate, no matter how much weight he was losing. He could lift his oversized shirt, and show her the flat flaps of fatless skin that now drooped over his belt and hung against his legs. He could grab his waddle of neck skin in one fist like a loose garment and shake it. But still she would insist he vary his diet and stick to the plan.
Well, Wayne had a plan of his own.
He patted the bandage on his leg where a flaccid roll of thigh skin had hung until only a quarter of an hour ago, felt the soreness beneath. His eyes did not leave the sizzling strips in the skillet. His grin returned.
“Bacon bacon, slice of pig…”