Sometimes, in the quiet of midnight, when peering eyes are tucked away in sleep, I rub my belly and feel pride in its excess; but only for a moment. A moment unbound by time.
Not content with the supper given to me earlier by Padma, I conceal myself with a robe and make my way downstairs to the fridge. There, in the still of the summer night, to the chorus of insects singing praise to the moon, I assemble all the snacks; each one possessing its own special characteristics.
There are the cookies, whose chocolate chips will warm and melt in my mouth, conjuring memories of my grandmother and the many afternoons I spent in her care. Then there are the potato chips, this particular bag being Sour Cream & Onion, a favorite of mine since the days of my youth when India was as young and naive as myself. Next, the string cheese. Simple, humble, unassuming in its vacuumed sealed wrapper; it sits cool and soft in my hands. Together, these are the snacks of midnight, all brought forth onto my plate at this sacred hour; all destined for my rumbling tummy.
These snacks, these midnight snacks, while in many ways contradicting one another, serve to compliment and complete each other. The salty chips juxtaposing with the sweetness of the cookies. The string cheese bridging these two flavors and ushering in a new flavor neither sweet nor savory but something completely novel and so much more than the sum of their parts. A new taste unknown to my ancestors but one that shall be embraced by future generations— those not blinded by the snacking of the past.
And now, bloated and at ease, I return to my chambers. And though I may feel full now and quickly return to my slumber, the morning shall bring indigestion and struggle. Because it is the privilege and the curse of the midnight snacker to be both master and victim of their snacks, to forsake good eating habits and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and to be unable to drink their morning coffee in gastrointestinal peace.