What an engaging beginning! This is a great example of the “give a story – get a story” dynamic. Who hasn’t though about that “last meal?” It is one of those get-to-know-you-better questions we used to ask each other.* My first five thoughts were:
Aunt Grace’s water cornbread (fried cornbread)
Purple hull peas
Grandmother Simmons’ brisket
No bake chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cokes
What about you? Did you find your brain searching for your perfect last meal? More importantly did other emotional memories come along with the tastes you imagined?
Talking about food awakens more channels than ears and eyes by talking to the body in it’s own language. I bet our most intense food memories are usually associated with family memories so it really is a loaded question.
Notice if images/smells/tastes/sensations flashed other details (who cooked? setting? friends? family?) that set you up to think more deeply.
Metaphorical descriptions (a/k/a similes)
I liked this use of imagery. His doctor “looked like John Lithgow with a hunchback.” And oatmeal, when you aren’t hungry “tastes like warm snot.”
This might be a good teaching story for oncology medical students who need to remember the physical toll of chemotherapy and the emotional resilience of hope.
There is so much more to like about this story but I will leave that to you to point out!