Day Four
My skin feels tighter, my face has a glow. My muscles are taut, healthy, as if I've been exercising. Everything I see--buildings, people, the trash in the streets--continues to look sharper, brighter. At a bookstore, I get an intoxicating whiff of perfume. I look for its bearer. The only other customer in the store, a woman, is three aisles away.

But by the time I make my purchase, fatigue has returned. The paperback I bought weighs on my arm like luggage. When someone on the street drives his shoulder into me, intentionally, it seems, I'm too exhausted to get upset. No wonder Gandhi could maintain a cool head while liberating India from the British Empire. Fasting takes the piss and vinegar out of you.

Day Five
Late night at the office. The boss has ordered in Chinese for everyone. When the food arrives, my colleagues eat, talk, and laugh. I alone sit glued to my computer 15 feet away. The air fills with the aromas of dishes, but I don't allow my brain to identify them by name. But interestingly, these smells excite no hunger in me anyway.

Having learned my lesson earlier in the week, I've decided to follow Jesus' teaching that we should fast in secret. He meant that we shouldn't show off. But he probably also knew that if no one knows you're fasting, they're less likely to try to tempt you with Bloody Marys and Peking Duck.

Day Six
The last day or two has been wonderful. I haven't been hungry at all, and my energy, on the whole, has been high. I'm able to concentrate harder and think more clearly than usual. I am also able to relax more deeply, and I've slept more soundly than I can remember.

I enjoy not eating now, revel in my discipline. A guy across from me on the train home tears through a Big Mac and two bags of french fries as if his life depended on it. I watch him shovel greasy fries in his mouth, where a fragment of special sauce glistens on his lip. I am revolted. A feeling of, admittedly, pharisaical superiority comes over me. Compared to this guy, I am pure spiritual fire. Why do I ever need to go back to solid food?

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