Mud has a very special taste. The flavour itself, so very rich, doesn't really stick. Each mouthful different, there's just no real signature to it. The texture on the other hand...
Katie sighed, as she let the spoon drop back into the soup. Her mother looked over, concern etched into her brows.
"Everything alright, sweetie?" she asks.
"Anyone need roughing up?" Katie's brother wants to know.
And Katie just can't let them know. That today's soup tastes like mud. That yesterday's spaghetti choked her. That chewing bread leaves her jaw tired.
Because, if she does, they still can't do anything about it.
But they will worry.
So she shakes her head, stands up, and gets creative.
"No," she says, "It's nothing, really."
As she collects her tableware, she realises it lacks an impact.
"Just some school stuff."
As she turns back after placing her stuff by the sink, her brother is eating again, though her mother's brow remains lined.
"Just this project I'm having some trouble with."
"Ah," her mother breathes, and the lines disappear after a final eyebrow shrug.
Another evening down.
Back upstairs, Katie chokes up. She lied to them again. Not really, she's really got a school project she's having trouble with, but that's just because she can't focus on it, and the reason she can't focus on it isn't because it's boring or anything like that, but because she really can't focus on anything, because focusing on something, anything at all, might make her happy, and then, when it's over, she won't be happy anymore, and that's unbearable, and awful and terrible and... sad.
So, instead, she searches the internet for symptoms of drug abuse, and decides she's a junkie.
She's gonna play the part, and she's gonna be good at it, and maybe she won't ever have to stop. She'll be happy. Without end, this time.
Lesson 1: Doesn't hand in homework.
Logging off the school network hurts like hell. She can taste the oncoming disappointment.
But withdrawals are like that.