You meet your in-laws for the first time; over dinner your girlfriend’s father casually asks ‘so, what do you do?’ It’s a question you have been asked many times before of course, but every time it makes you panic. ‘Oh, nothing at the moment, but I’m thinking about…’ and you express a few vague desires to better yourself. He scrutinises you about the specifics of your plans, and it becomes obvious you don’t really have any, certainly none that revolve around making his daughter more comfortable. You feel paranoid, under pressure and so you retreat into yourself for the conversation and indeed, for the rest of the meal. You are acutely aware that your silence is even weirder, but the very fact of speaking now makes you sick.
This is an excerpt from Belly Up!