What I look forward to in life is eating. It used to be bike rides and hikes in the woods, maybe shopping on the weekends with friends. Swimming, and bathing suits. Bikinis even. I can’t tell you exactly how this changed, or why. Only now I’m 270 pounds, 5’3, and expanding. My arms rub against my breasts and rib cage, and chafe on hot days. My stomach hangs in uneven rolls like several soft, misshapen tires. And no matter how slow I’m going, some part of me is jiggling. I feel embarrassed whenever I’m seen, which is often.
There’s no escaping the eyes of others.
I hide inside when I can. I work full-time behind a desk and tall partition. I take phone calls. I’m in telecommunications. I eat donuts at my desk and take small bites between calls or even during, but my voice is still a thin girl’s voice. My voice still got it goin’ on. (They still say that, don’t they?)
Customers have asked me out on dates over the phone. They must hear me and imagine a fit chick in her mid-twenties, wearing studded black leggings and a drapey semi-see-thru cream-coloured top, with just the perfect sized breasts wobbling delicately around underneath. It’s what I imagine when I imagine the real me, so maybe that’s getting through the phone to them. The real me who fucks like a thin girl, glides easily over their bodies, wet slightly from sweat. Our bodies glistening in unison. The real me has strong leg muscles and can straddle for hours on end. Like a thin girl.
I’ve turned down every offer except one.
I usually say I have a man. This made-up man is African-American or French or Japanese or Indian. Sometimes he’s shorter than me but has a really great job. He buys us vacations to the Swiss Alps in the winter and Tuscany in the summer. He buys me anything I want from Tiffany’s.
The men on the phone ask if he’s got so much money why are you working? I laugh. I see this coming. I say it’s for my independence and a change of scenery. I would get bored, I say. And I’d lose respect for myself as a woman if I couldn’t bring in my own money, even if it is just pocket change. I let out a little giggle here.
It’s 8:27pm. My date, a customer named Ben, has not shown. I imagine he approached from behind, saw me sitting there swelling up the space, and didn’t think twice before he turned to leave, to run. He departs just like the real me when this other thing wants to be fed.
Kristen Michelle Håvet is an American-Canadian living in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She is editor in chief of Glossolalia. Her work has recently appeared in The Glass Coin and disenthralled.