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At the DQ
by Rachel Kuhnle

One afternoon I was with friends outside a Dairy Queen when the conversation turned to the topic of our internal organs.

As we sat and took inventory and swapped stories of hiccups and heart palpitations, it was revealed that one friend, Seth, a tall, skinny boy we all knew to have various health problems, was born without a stomach. It was the result of some sort of chemical exposure, he said, while in utero.

What is it like to know you weren’t meant for this world? one friend asked. He looked a bit uncomfortable so a friend, Kate, offered, what’s it like to be a miracle? At this he smiled weakly.

In Seth’s absence, more supposing continued:
         Was he shriveled as a baby?
         Will his children have no stomachs?
         Does this mean he has no soul?
         How is he alive?

Thinking herself to be more sensitive than the rest of us, Kate hushed the supposing to merely a few shared looks at lunch time and some illustrations I kept for the longest time in a shoebox under my bed.

Kate was a real fat ass, by the way. I haven’t yet established that. It was most unfortunate for her. She had all kinds of other things going for her, primarily her family was loaded. But instead of bearing her midriff and driving around in a BMW around like any other rich bitch, she was trying weight loss program after program and failing.

When she told us her plans, the next day, at the DQ… it caused quite a stir.

Now I was not the first to think it but still everyone was shocked when I suggested she donate her stomach to Seth. It makes sense! I said. He was born without a stomach and it’s made his life hard. It’s not fair that she can just throw hers away, I said. It’s like wearing glasses for fun or shaving your head bald ’cause you can!

An argument arose questioning the morality of the whole thing. I would starve myself, a friend said, before I threw away my stomach. The passion behind her argument was that she wanted to have children very badly, and without a stomach Kate would likely never be able to nurture a growing fetus. I told her that was horrible talk, starving yourself was horrible, but I appreciated her support.

Seth got upset and left, and Kate, in turning to go comfort him, hushed all our arguments by saying: “My body is mine. His body is his. And it’s none of your business.”

I felt passionate at the time but now I suppose I was just hungry. I hadn’t eaten all day that day and my stomach was growling.

I think that means it was eating itself.