I eat fourteen Chocolate- Hazelnut candies, round and rapped in silver foil that crackles when I snap it open.
I also eat six cookies, long brittle tubes filled with chocolate; one puffy cheesy thing that tastes old, all grease and brittleness; and two mints before the woman in a sky blue shirt comes out and calls my name.
The woman I'm sitting with, all older, all reading magazines that promise quick dinners and happier children, look relieved.
They've noticed the pile of wrappers around me, noticed how I sat and ate while they sipped diet sodas or water and gave each other cautious looks if they reached near the candy when grabbing another magazine.
But they will do nothing about it. They will say nothing, ask no questions. No one does. No one has.
No one ever will.
"Alice?" the woman in the sky blue shirt asks again, and I stand up, swallowing a last bite of cookie, flour and sugar, brittle sweet.
There is a plastic decoration on the wall across from me; clear rippled plastic resting against a blue wall. A reverse ocean, with no water for anyone to drown in.
I can see myself in the plastic and it waves me into a strange, distorted creature, the shadow of something or someone.
I look wrong.
I look dead.
I'm not, though. I'm only partway there, the living dead girl.
I have been for five years.