"Remember last year? When you weren't eating?" she asks me.

We are eating falafel, two friends sharing a cheap meal. Of course I know what she's talking about, but I have concealed the truth. From October to December, I avoided communal dining whenever possible. I ate only because my meal plan was expensive, and I would have felt stupid by wasting money. The simple truth is that I was antisocial in the truest sense of the word. Sometimes we say that people are antisocial if they fall under the umbrella of reticence. But this is not the case. Truly antisocial people want to avoid people, especially their friends.

Every other morning, I would shuffle to the cafeteria in my ballet slippers around eight o'clock. Breakfast was always easy because few of my friends wanted to wake up for the early meal. So I usually read the paper while shoveling in the Golden Grahams and fruit. Upon finishing, I would smuggle three carrot raisin muffins out of the cafeteria: two and a half for me, and a chunk for any lucky squirrels I might encounter on the way to class.

Lunch was also fairly easy: because my class schedule was hectic, I simply ate at a different dorm than my own. Except for the occasional casual acquaintance, nobody knew me there; so it was easy to find a corner table and down my food in silence. There, too, I took contraband Rice Krispy Treats and cookies, which provided fuel for the late afternoon.

Everybody ate dinner at 5:30; it was the regular time when all of our friends gathered in the north cafeteria. When everybody was together, we took up two large, round tables. I would put a bit of food on my tray and watch everybody else interact. More often than not, I just poked at my food, shaping it into little patterns. Then I would return to my room and eat Nutella straight from the jar.

"Yes, I remember," I say to her. She takes another bite.

not just pain relief
to the hospital
what people say