Providence, Rhode Island. 10:11 AM.
No one answers the door, but it is unlocked. I walk into an apartment furnished with empty Triscuit boxes. It gives off the impression of a graveyard. Indeed, something has died here. A woman’s will has been extinguished in this lair of cardboard and delirium.
The lair’s occupant, Olivia Van Newton, is a 31-year-old snack enthusiast. Her newest passion project was to partake in all 23 varieties of Triscuit on the market to see which she liked the best. The plan was to try a new flavor each morning, over the course of three weeks. But the plan never went into action.
That first morning, what was supposed to be a harmless morning snack spiraled into a midday munch and then further into a full-blown Triscuit smorgasboard.
Olivia’s Apartment. 11:43 AM.
Down the hall from the desolate kitchen, Olivia mutters. The words drift lazily towards me, and I follow them back to their source.
The bedroom is worse than the kitchen. Boxes are stacked knee-high. The only surface not covered by Triscuit boxes is a sea of blankets, which at one point must have been a bed. Olivia rises from her blankets as Venus emerged from the ocean, if Venus had undiagnosed depression and was covered in crumbs.
“One more Triscuit, and that’s it,” she says.
She slides the wheat square into her gullet and immediately reaches for another. When her hand emerges empty from the box, a pained expression glides across her face like a cracker through humus. Flipping the box over, she lets the crumbs fall through her fingers.
“Sand through the hourglass,” she whispers.
I ask her if she will eat the crumbs. She looks at me, and her eyes call me a fool.
Olivia opens another box.
Olivia’s Bedroom. 4:15 PM.
It is sundown now, and Olivia reaches for another box of Triscuits. Soon, blankets are flying across the room in her frantic search.
“No more,” she is crying, “No more Triscuits.”
“Did you find a favorite flavor, Olivia?”
When she looks at me, I feel nauseous. There is no pain or fear in her eyes any longer, no anger or regret. There is also no hope, no hunger, no joy. I wonder if there is still Olivia.