“That dress looks amazing on you!”
I twirl before the mirror. My reflection looks warped, like in a funhouse—wide brawny shoulders and ankles like tree trunks, and yet a waist you could slip into a napkin-ring. They’re all lying to me; these mirrors, these dress sizes, these saleswomen with their perfect bodies, clad in skin-tight leggings and half shirts, parading pierced belly-buttons that attract men’s gazes like a train wreck.
“The design is perfect on you—very slimming.”
Because I’m fat, right? I need extravagant patterns to draw attention away from the flab that cascades down my body and pushes through the seams, snapping threads like the bars of some feeble prison.
“What do you think of it?” she asks.
It’s a rag. Look at my arms! From the sleeves, fat puffs out against the strain of elastic. I feel like I’m wearing a sausage casing. I hate it.
“I love it!” The words jump from my mouth, five thousand dollars worth of dentistry shimmering in the florescent light.
The saleswoman raises her hand and my American Express card flies into her fingers like some Jedi mind-trick. Damn George Lucas.
I push my shopping cart quickly through the baked-goods section. Everything’s low-in-fat these days, light, fat-free. Eat as much as you want! Stay slim. Appalling lies.
Carbohydrates reach out from the shelves like lost souls, caressing me. Sugars chant soothing melodies that weaken my resolve. I can’t look away. Pastries find their way into my cart, bubbling up through the health food like oxygen trapped in mud. Powdered doughnuts, sticky-buns, apple fritters and cherry turnovers throw themselves at me.
Claudia Schiffer eyes me with contempt from her glossy magazine cover perch. I turn away.
A fat woman unloads her cart ahead of me—she buys only canned goods and loaves of bread. Mint-green sweat-pants punctuate her enormous thighs; they bulge and jiggle like sacks of potatoes in an earthquake. She squeezes past the checkout, her blubber spilling over the counter as she pays. Everything around me—the magazines, the gorgeous checkout girls, the piercing looks of distain from passing men—tells me this lady and I are twins, equal in mass, a pair of unwanted-fat-chicks.
I go home and burn my Cathy Smith workout tapes, push the Stairmaster down the back steps, smash the weight-bench with a sledgehammer.
I eat pastries until I’m dizzy and then push a finger down my throat.
“Hey baby, don’t I know you from somewhere?”
Nice line. Real original. His pocked face reminds me of lunar photos. Sliding like grease onto the stool beside me, I notice his hairy knuckles wrapped around a beer mug, and I imagine a forest of thick hair creeping over his shoulders down his back like some horrible infestation.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
He tells me I look pretty in this dress—the rag I bought earlier. All night he hangs off me. He’s twenty-nine, single, a tradesmen, likely a psychopath. He enjoys long walks, rainy days, and cats. Cats? What kind of freak is this?
“I feel like I can tell you anything,” he says.
Shut up! I stare at my tapping fingers. Warmth from his smoky beer breath wafts into my face. I look beyond him to the young and beautiful—the thin—dancing, touching each other’s sleek bodies, the electricity dancing off their finger tips, sexuality dripping from their crotches. I sigh.
In the morning I leave Moon-Face to his snoring and lock myself in the bathroom. My lumpy naked body droops across from me in the mirror. I step onto the scale and watch the numbers accrue like compound interest. All I do is gain weight.
I wrap myself in blankets, collapse on the couch,
and thumb through Cosmopolitan.
[We would like to make it known that the image of Wonder Woman etc
above is a semi-blurry photograph of a collage by Erin Ergenbright, co-author
of a book of collages and recipes and short fictional tales about ex-boyfriends
Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, which was co-authored with the person who wrote
this and this
on this site.]
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