Prose choice

Previous prose

Ella Dorman-Gajic

 

 

Happiness is Free Wifi

After the billboard in Ealing Broadway shopping centre.

 

Contentment walks into a coffee shop, is offered super-speed free Happiness with her blueberry muffin, under 100 calories. ‘FUCK ME’, Contentment gleams. The newfound happiness shows her an island in the Bahamas where they have bikinis and water that passionately humps the sky. The muffin tastes of fairies having a rave on a cloud inside her mouth.

She sits on the loo, loading further happiness. An image of a woman who almost looks like her, captioned: love yourself. She is wearing a backless dress. The type that makes skin look like freshly rolled dough. The shoulder-blades, pizza cutters, and the spine, a slick chilli curl. Contentment had forgotten she had a backbone. A hollow rumbling says those 93 calories weren’t enough, though.

An ad pops up.

‘2 for Tuesdays, Dominoes: 50 meters away.’

She looks at the numbers on her Santander, then her Gym membership.

That night, she licks the grease from a pizza box whilst doing squats. Picks at the flesh of dough and the knobbly spine of cheese. Eyes up the bend of her shoulder blades. Wonders how much she can eat before they bury under. Types ‘back pilates exercises’ into YouTube. Her thumb grows numb from moving all that happiness. The length of their eyelashes. The kale and brown rice. The body-con that wraps like a bandage around their perky arse.

She responds appropriate emojis to everyone’s stories. New Nikes: fire. New lipstick: heart-eyes. Koala bear battles crisis temperatures: crying face.

Then, she books that holiday to the Bahamas. Orders fifty bikinis. Decides between the organic Himalayan celery cleanse or the deep stem vegan carrot cleanse. Buys pizza cutters and sews them onto her backbone. Draws water-proof contours below each cheek.

Before she leaves, she walks into a coffee shop, orders a blueberry muffin, and asks for their Hap-piness. They tell her it’s down.

‘Oh…What’s in the muffin?’

‘Blueberries and calories.’

The berry gets lodged in her throat like a regret, as she looks around at contentment, sitting at ta-bles, laughing.

 

Ella Dorman-Gajic is a playwright, poet & performer. Her writing has been described as “impassioned” by The Guardian. She runs the sell-out poetry night Off the Chest & she’s currently part of Apples and Snakes Writing Room. Website: https://www.elladorman-gajic.co.uk @EllaDormanGajic 

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