To Bite and Make a Sound

To Bite and Make a Sound

A Story by Abigail Livingston

I’ve been wanting to eat this f*****g apple for twenty minutes now, twenty minutes ago I used the soft midsection of my shirt to wipe its red round surface and now it’s shiny, and for the past oh, I don’t know, eighteen minutes I’ve been holding it in my hand and wanting to eat it.

Then just eat it! You say, and I say, but I will not. I will not because I am in a library, well the basement of one, and though there aren’t many books-- just a pile, curiously, of Dickinsons, marked as such in various fonts and sizes on the book’s spines-- and it doesn’t look like a library it is part of one, and the Library Rules still follow and fill the room down here, and the most important Rule in the Library is to Not Make Noise!

If you must, of course, make noise, it is highly encouraged and sometimes expected-- by some people, in particularly averse moods, those who are halted in their writing or reading of words, or those who are pondering, and working at it, who look up at the air that hangs above their heads with a pensiveness fit of that which first conjured up consciousness itself-- it is sometimes expected by those people to be somehow sorry about the noise, to segment the plastic moans of a zipper in slow, halting fashion or to be quick about it, blunt, to create and then end the noise as quickly as possible.

So you can see why I can hardly eat my apple-- this apple I’ve possession of, and cleaned-- even though I hold it in my hand as though I am about to eat it, as though the first bite is a mere movement or two away. It is not, because even as I considered just how rude it would be to bite into and start chewing on this apple-- and I didn’t ever consider it too closely, for I don’t think I actually would have-- but even as I considered the possibility of eating it, one of the other two library patrons-- a student, a fellow student-- burst out in irritation that a girl speaking on the phone in the lobby upstairs “should really go outside if she wants to talk on the phone”, and I froze and was tense, for surely a crunching apple in an even closer vicinity to my fellow student would increase her acute irritation, and I did not want me and my apple to make her seethe.

And anyway I forgot this part and it may seem strange but it’s true-- you have no way of knowing but it is-- I am just not hungry. I am not hungry at all but I want this apple. When it was on the same surface as the pile of Dickinsons I looked at it frequently and it was a deep red and I knew, know (think, hope) it will taste very sweet, and I know that when I eat it I will savor the sweetness, for I always savor sweet things. I zip zippers slowly in quiet places and I eat sweet things slowly when I can.

But I am not hungry and it is true that I have decided to eat things previously when I do not need to satiate an empty belly, only a will, but as I said I should not Make Noise and if I bite into this apple, chew, chew, chew (swallow), bite again, chew, chew (swallow), bite and chew and continue on in such a way, I will be Making a Noise that will surely conjure up irritation within the students in this library basement.

And this is stranger still but-- I feel as though I have told you things and I’m warmed up now, even though I cannot see or feel you, the act of explaining has warmed me up-- I also will not eat the apple because I have been using one hand to open all the doors of this library, the door to enter the lobby and the door to enter the basement, and the door to go to the bathroom (in and out), and I try to use only one hand so I do not have both hands touching all of these oft-touched places-- sometimes you can feel the layers of grime on them-- but for the life of me I cannot recall which hand I have been using, my left or my right.

When I think of picking up the apple (I do not pick it up, though, it remains on the table where I last set it), I think of which hand I would extend to pick it up, and both my left and my right feel-- there is no other word for it-- distinct, but I cannot tell in which way. Does my left hand feel distinct because after I washed both hands I thought, all right, I will not use this hand to open any doors, and thus it is clean? Or is it that the left hand feels distinct because I thought, I will use this hand only to open all doors, and it is dirty? And as I said each hand feels distinct and so either of these two characterizations could apply to it and its fingers.

My will, my stomach, even my appendages are reluctant to reach forth and bring the apple to my mouth, to commence eating, and so why can’t I drop it, then, why can’t I rid myself of the notion of eating it, right now or in the very near future? Why must I think of things I have decided I will not do! Ah but see I have not said that I certainly do not want to do it.

I have decided I will try to cease thinking about it, though, I will try to not think of that which obstinately places itself in my thoughts. And so I stop thinking of that red sphere in the lower left corner of my library basement scene and I think of the anarchist I met today, and the things he spoke of, not in an obtrusive, Listen to Me way, but in an patient, explanatory way.

I think that people who are confident in what they say they know haven’t been to enough libraries (what about library basements?). I believe, wholeheartedly, that if there are harmful or damaging structures we should be free to alter them. The freedom to do so is paramount. And, of course, I should mention, I am an anarchist--

I don’t think he would like being called an anarchist, here, because simple labels for complex things are if not always, nearly always inaccurate, and also because this anarchist well, he is also a philosopher and an anthropologist and Buddhist and he speaks and moves slowly and gracefully and he has calm brown eyes and wears a flowered wrap on his head and so perhaps I should have said these things first and then explained what he said and you could have realized precisely in the way I did that he was an anarchist (or you could have deduced this from a certain tattoo on his inner right forearm but then you would have had more awareness about anarchism than I).

I was thinking about the slow, graceful brown-eyed flower-headed man who condones lawlessness in the face of rigidity and then a sound reached my ears so fast, in such a charged manner that it would seem I was primed to hear it. It was quite close to me, not in distance (yes, that) but in familiarity, and then with the recognition came the shock (although my face did not contort to match this rapid-heart feeling)--

The sound of biting into an apple.

I heard one, two, three chews from the first bite and then a small quiet (swallow) and then the second bite and subsequent chews and by turning halfway I determined the sounds were coming from the “she should go outside if she wants to talk on the phone” student, and I felt something like outrage and savage satisfaction, both, for it was not me eating the apple but there was the CRUNCH and the CRUNCH and here is the seething, but it is not as I thought it would be.

I turned in full to look at her slowly, slowly like I zip zippers and savor foods and decide to do things, and I looked at the back of the student’s head, and she has headphones in, she is listening to music (I think I assume), and she cannot even perceive the noises she is making.

The other patron has left and it is just her and I, her and her music, her apple and I.

I still am not hungry.

© 2019 Abigail Livingston

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This attracted me because it’s the kind of idea I’d like to try. I probably won’t for a while now because this is better than I’d manage.

I’m not a professional writer, an educated writer even, but I know what I like and I liked this. Really clever, funny and entertaining.

Posted 3 Years Ago

.......I'm freaking laughing my head off here - this is freaking hilarious, and even more so because it's so well done!! Honestly! As I read through, my comments were verging on suggesting that you peruse the structure of monologues to see how they go, for that might make this better, BUT, when I got to the end, I realized that this was not just a monologue, it IS a story within itself - with vivid imagery and all (even the most simple but greatest twist in literature - as least that I've ever read). Another grammar, going through my mind was mind the punctuation, but then I also realized, the run-ons were supposed to characterize the frantic waffling of whether to eat the apple or not, as well as the magnificently interspersed tangents. This - is - golden! You might want to consider adding an article or adverb in a couple of places so the flow lands harder when it needs to, but the one thing that NEEDS to be changed is a typo: "pensiveness fit". Those two words are nouns, and it appears that "pensiveness" is supposed to be acting as an adjective to "fit" therefore should be the adjective: "pensive".

Beyond amazing! This needs to go onstage or something in some way or other. It's hysterical! Well freaking done!

Posted 3 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on May 20, 2019
Last Updated on May 20, 2019
Tags: neurotic, overthinking, mental, health, library, book, apple, rule, David Foster Wallace, inspired by, emotionality, student, reality, life


Abigail Livingston
Abigail Livingston


Because if you can’t pretend to love yourself, you can’t convince yourself that you’re in love with what you’re projecting onto someone else. - Unknown more..