dietary requirements

“Hey, where do you want to go for team lunch?”

My heart stops.

I don’t know how to tell my colleagues
that I need 48 hours written notice
of being asked this
so I have time to look at menus,
work out what I can afford
and what I can actually eat
in a minefield of allergies.

“We’re thinking the Lysander!”
they say excitedly,
clearly somewhere they’ve been before
and thoroughly enjoyed
and I don’t want to be the awkward killjoy
but I don’t know this place
and I don’t know the layout
and I don’t know if there will be
a seat away from all windows
with my back to as many people as possible.

We get there,
and the menu is almost entirely seafood
and I can feel the panic rising in my chest
and my heart is thumping so hard
I think it might crack a rib
and fuck
I just want to cry
and I clench my hands into fists and dig my nails into my palms
hard enough to draw blood.

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