Invisible Women Suck Cherries by Anita MacCallum

When you get to be a woman of a certain age you become invisible, so it really doesn’t matter what you eat. So I can eat what I like. I could eat a giraffe if I wanted to. Or a whale. Just sink my teeth into them and let the blood trickle down my chin and no-one would lift an eye-lash because no-one would notice, because I am invisible. Tonight though it’s all different, tonight I’m bold, I’ve drawn a line around the edge of myself. Tonight I’ve chosen to be seen. I’ve been watching her, the waitress, for a week. I’ve been watching her, with her hands that hold the cutlery tight for just a little too long. Her blouse with buttons that take the weight of bringing two pieces of cloth together a little too seriously.

The waitress she asks me ‘What do you want?’ Like she’s asking me a completely different question entirely. Not asking, telling me, telling me she wants to leave, like she’s telling me, ‘I’ve had enough of taking orders but my boss, he’s watching me, so we are going to play the game. O.K?’. I am ok with that. I say ‘Sit and eat with me, I have enough money tonight to pay for your dinner and your company, and I have enough to pay for everyone’s dinner here and for all the dinner at all the empty tables that aren’t going to be ordered or eaten tonight. I’ll pay for those too. So you can tell your boss that tonight the restaurant is full and you don’t need to serve those tables and you can come and sit and eat with me.’ She takes a long deep breath and looks at me and my bold outline. She says ‘I could do that. It seems a little crazy but I could be ready for a little crazy.’ And she told her boss that I was buying the dinners of all the yet to be filled tables and that the restaurant therefore was full and because of that the only table she needed to serve was mine. He shook his head and sighed and I could see he was ready for a little crazy too. His shoulders sagged in the middle, like a piece of soggy bread. His shirt a little frayed at the edges, could do with an early night and he sighed and nodded towards me and she nodded back. She, the waitress, Emma, she reaches over and tucks a piece of my hair behind my ear. She, Emma, picks up the pen that I’d tucked into my breast pocket of my jacket and drew a line around my lips and I say, ‘I’ll eat whatever you want to give me.’ Her, Emma, brings over two knicker-bocker glories with the longest thinnest spoons I’ve ever seen. All ice-cream, strawberries, cream piled high like a mountain to conquer or a breast to hold. I,Kate, me, lean in and put my tongue in the top, getting cream on my nose and sucking the cherry from the peak. Our eyes. her, she, Emma, and me, Kate, hold the world and no-one is there to see and we laugh until tears creep from the corner of my eyes. And she, Emma, takes her finger tip, swirling with its lines, tiny maps of self and puts it into the crystal pools on my face.

Anita MacCallum is an Arts Practitioner using theatre, writing, poetry and visual art to inspire people to express themselves, creating performance and exhibitions in and around Bristol. Her short stories have been placed in Bristol Short Story Award, Bath Flash Fiction, Creative Futures amongst others. Anita performs boundary pushing feminist theatre winning most provocative and groundbreaking performance with Dada For Girls. She is currently writing a play ‘Buzzing’ with Graeae theatre and theatres in the South West. Twitter – @loud_word.