Six friends and I used to eat meals together. One, two or three of us would cook, and we would crowd around a table made for four. We made up family characters for each other. I was the priest who lived next door, only because my mother's religious and says prayers on the fancy holidays. It might also have to do with my former life as an acolyte, the lighter of the candles, the incinerator of the holy flame.

Now I spend plenty of afternoons mostly alone in that moldy white walled basement, covering food in spices, watching from the couch as friends hurl food into their stomachs and take off running.