I roused from my fitful slumber at around two AM. The den was strewn with empty canisters of Bisto.
My mouth and nose were dry and and I caught the unmistakable whiff of meat-effect extract. The powdery addiction was slaking my thirst for real gravy, but I knew in my third gut that the relief was temporary.
The urge to gorge on the eurocratic lifeblood that courses through this building could not be stopped by sipping on insipid, salty cups of stock or snorting ground-down cubes through 500 euro bills.
I needed perdiems. I needed expat allowances. I needed to skim that thin, surface-skin meniscus of community tax, and taste the rich, unctious A-grade juice of reward.
The summer months are always the hardest.
The building will soon be empty, many of the canteens soon bereft.
From the belly of the beast I'll miss the gentle chirrup of spokespeople tweeting.
I'll miss the daily grumble of journalists stomping their feet in disgruntlement when the little jar of processed news is put away and Olivier shakes his little plastic spoon and says 'that's all for today.'
And I'll miss the clamour of self-important interns, full of the fleeting joys and privilege of Brugges, and full, so full, of gravy-making potential.
For that's what I'll miss the most. Near two long months I'll have to survive on granules and overpriced bovril from the English shop and Piet Huysentruyt-sponsored Maggi 'bouillon' gunk.
But then, September. How sweet a month. When July comes how I pine already the season of mists and mellow fruilfulness.
The building echoes once more with ivory-tower jargon, the wheels grind slowly back into motion, and the corridors burble again with the steady flow of glistening, plentiful, life-affirming gravy.
Until then, until that first, Wednesday College serving, rendered all the more joyous through anticipation and bursting with the flavours of new-term enthusiasm and optimism, until then I must satiate my hunger on the few drops from the remaining 'permanence' staffers, on the scraps scraped from tins and jars in Eurest's storage, and to pass the time with self-indulgent, lamenting diary entries peppered with unnecessary rhetorical flourish.
|Chew .... chew ....|