Our hostess for Friday Fiction this week is Karlene, on her beautiful new blog Homespun Expressions. Thanks Karls! Be sure to stop by and pay her a visit. You can find links to more short fiction at the bottom of her post.
My offering today was one of the most researched pieces I've written. It fell off the bottom of the charts in the FaithWriters Challenge, but I'm fond of it. I hope you enjoy!
Who Are You Calling Skinny?
Shana stepped gingerly onto the scale and grimaced. One pound? After an hour of jogging, only ONE pound? She grabbed her thick bathrobe from the hook, jerked the door open, and stormed down the hallway toward her mom’s room.
“Everything ok, hon?” her mom, Ellen, called from the kitchen.
“I think the battery’s dieing on the scale in there. I’m gonna use yours, ok?” The odor of whatever was cooking made Shana want to vomit.
She closed the master bedroom door behind her, shed her robe, and went into the bathroom. Should rename this the “mistress bedroom”. There’s no master in this house anymore. She used the bathroom, voiding any possible extra weight.
Yah, better. Three pounds is more like it.
She drank greedily from the tap, then reclaimed her robe and wrapped it around her diminishing frame. Opening the bedroom door, she was assaulted by the food stench. “Thanks, mom. Your scale’s fine.”
“Dinner will be ready in a minute. It’s your favorite – meatloaf.”
“Great, thanks.” No WAY will I eat that. Does she realize how much fat’s in hamburger? She probably made mashed potatoes too. This is gonna be real fun.
Shana dug her ankle weights out from under her mattress and strapped them on. The sweats she donned not only disguised her body, but also hid the weights. The last thing she needed was her mom aggravating her about losing weight. What does Miss ‘I Only Care About You’ know from skinny, anyway? I’m fat. Fat fat fat. I’m a whale. She fought a wave of dizziness as she stood. After she popped her third diet pill of the day, she joined her mom in the kitchen.
“Oh good, just in time to set the table.” Ellen finished tossing a salad while Shana got two plates from the cabinet.
“Would you say the blessing tonight, Shana?”
“Ok, whatever.” “Dear God, thank you for this food, and please bless dad as he eats dinner alone in his little apartment. Amen.” Shana glowered at her mom, daring her to say something.
“That was nice, dear. Ok, let’s dig in.”
Shana put a small slice of meatloaf and a smaller portion of potatoes on her plate. A slightly larger helping of salad followed. Shaking the bottle of dressing over the lettuce made it look like some fell onto the salad. She painstakingly cut the meat into tiny squares, and stirred the white mound of potatoes, covering a few pieces of meat in the process. She took a bite of salad, and proceeded to chew it exactly 32 times.
“Are you feeling alright, hon? You’ve been looking awfully pale lately.” Her mom’s worried look only infuriated Shana.
“Maybe a stomach bug. Nothing you need to stress over. Hey, mom, would you get me some more water?”
While Ellen’s back was turned, Shana slipped some meatloaf into her napkin. “Thanks. I’m really thirsty. Meatloaf’s good tonight.”
“Girl! You’re getting’ too thin for your own good.”
“Are you kidding, Robin?” Shana gawked at her best friend. “You’re startin’ to sound like my stupid mom. Besides, aren’t we in this diet thing together?”
“Well, yah, but… there’s dieting and then there’s starving yourself.” Robin eyed Shana up and down. “Your legs look like two sticks comin' out of those shorts.”
“Fine. I’ll cover them up so you don’t have to see them.” Shana cinched her weights around her ankles and pulled on her sweat pants. The two girls straggled behind the others leaving the locker room. “You’re still skinnier than me,” Shana added.
Robin grabbed her friend’s arm and pulled her back into the locker room. “Come on, I want to show you somethin’.”
They stood in front of the full-length mirror. “What, you want me to look at myself?” Shana snorted. “I can see – I’m fat.”
“But, Shana, that’s not what I see. Take those big ole pants off. Now that baggy shirt.” Robin followed suit, stripping off her own shirt. “Now, look at us together in that mirror. Look at my legs. Look at yours. You don’t need a measuring tape to see who's are smaller. Look at our tummies, our arms. Who’s skinner? Open your eyes, girl.”
Shana stared glumly, mutely, at the reflection.
“Can’t you see it? Do you not see that you are scrawny? Bony? Ee-may-cee-ated. I love you, ya know. I wanna be skinny, too, but you are treading in dangerous waters. An’ I love you too much to watch ya drown.”
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)