July 14

Where has the time gone? Since I last wrote, several things have happened. I’ve been on and off Weight Watchers, my hometown suffered its annual flood, and I finally hammered out the first chapter of my new novel. (It’s about time, huh?)

First things first: Weight Watchers. So let me tell you how tired I am of all this diet stuff. Weight Watchers is the best, yeah, blah, blah, blah. Tell me: when Dan waves an eight-ounce hamburger smothered in cheddar cheese, bacon and fried onions like a flag in my face (or just orders it at a restaurant), where are they all then?

I think Weight Watchers should follow the Alcoholics Anonymous model and give us all sponsors. Because, gee, it’d be nice to have somebody to call at that moment, when I want to throw a fork at Dan as a distraction, grab his burger, and swallow it whole. And it should be a total stranger, somebody with no investment other than to help a fellow American who, like them, happens to love food and have crappy genes.

Keep in mind, my mother’s a Weight Watcher, so I could technically call her. But only if I want to have that burger rubbed in both of my eyes, crumbs of meat shoved up my nose, and the sides of my head slapped with it whole. Figuratively, that is.

See, she’s a Weight Watcher’s Weight Watcher. The drill sergeant kind. She lost 30 pounds six years ago and, now, she’s downright militant.

“Did you go to Weight Watchers this morning?” she asks me yesterday.

“No, mom. I couldn’t get there. I’m just so tired.”

“Well, okay, but you’ve already lost four weeks.”

“Okay, what does that mean? Was I in a coma for those four weeks and I didn’t know it?”

“No, fresh mouth, it means that if losing weight was really important to you, you’d make time for it. I mean, you have to make time for the things in life that count.”

“Right, that’s what I’m trying to do.” Sleep. Pee. Love. Live. Stay clear of traffic.

“I’m just saying that you’re getting married, you’d think you’d want to look good.”

Okay, what’s that therapist’s phone number again? “So if I don’t go to Weight Watchers, I won’t look good?”

“I’m just saying you have to go to the meetings. That’s how I’ve managed to keep my weight off for all these years.”

Here we go. I hear Reverie.

“Weight Watchers works but you have to do it. You have to go to the meetings, otherwise, forget it. But that’s up to you. If it’s important, you’ll do it. I go and get weighed all the time. That’s because I care about myself.”

“Mazel tov.” Shoot me now.

“Listen, it’s not my body. If you want to be big at your wedding, that’s your choice.”

Use a silencer so you don’t wake the neighbors. They’re nice people. Let them sleep.

“It’s just that I don’t know what you’re doing.”

I’m living. I’m trying to get a good night’s sleep. I have dreams every night that I look like a cross between Mama Cass and Rosemary’s Baby walking down the aisle. Doesn’t every bride to be? I’ve gone to the hair salon 14 times for a new hairdo for the wedding. They tell me they are plum out of ideas.

“Are you watching what you eat?”

No. Every day I have chocolate ice cream for breakfast, cake for lunch, and a pizza and a box of cookies for dessert. Then, if I see someone walking down the street with something sugary and sweet, I’ll run up behind them, pull their hair, knee them in the lower back or the mid-groin, depending on how I’m positioned, grab their food and shove whatever they were eating down my throat. Whatever it is. Could be covered ants. Doesn’t matter.

She’s still talking. “I mean, it’s up to you, but I have to go now. Barbara is waiting for me.”

Lucky Barbara. The sad thing is my mother has no idea how healthy I am. How I walk at least two hours a day, lift weights three times a week, watch. I haven’t been to a fast food restaurant since Nixon was in office. But genes are genes. And I’m 43. And this is it. This size 10, sometimes 12, voluptuous body. It’s fine. Just fine. The boys seem to like it. Why can’t she? Why do I even care what she thinks?

“Okay, talk to you later.” Bu-bye MOTHER. I hang up, wondering what tonight’s dream will look like. Just as Dan goes to say “I do,” the skin from my expanding body will suddenly explode like a bomb through the seams of my wedding dress. The audience will first gasp in horror and then try to stifle their laughing. Dan will wave me away like I’m a serial killer and he’s my next victim. The officiate, a gentle woman who does energy work in her spare time, will start to shake and scream, as if we all suddenly turned into ingénues from the Dawn of the Dead.

And there will be my mother, standing next to her favorite Weight Watcher lecturer, the five-pounds-away-from-anorexic Andy. They’ll be shaking their heads in disgust, as if I just told the whole room the milk in their lattes had full fat. Rolls of flesh will start pouring down the sides of my body like flesh-colored lava. I can just see it now.

Of course, it doesn’t help that my best friend is now on Weight Watchers and has lost like 3,000 pounds (that she didn’t need to lose) in five minutes, sans exercise. My mother is going to rub that in my face like the hamburger.

I want to scream. Honestly, I do. In these situations, I try hard to remember that my body is not a thing to be hated, but something that, despite its desire to cling to every morsel of fat it can find, carries me around on this earth. I can stand up every morning and lie down every night. My legs move me from one place to the other. And my functioning brain lets me problem solve so I can get through life and, yes, even sometimes enjoy it.

Yes, it’s okay. I’m okay. I will be a beautiful bride and I don’t need my mother to tell me that. I need only look in the mirror and know myself. Right?

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