“Okay, fine. Pick me up in an hour.” My voice sounded defeated. I hated people. I really hated Christmas. I hated my best friend for making me go to this retail Christmas party, when I could be in bed watching the final episode of , “Battle Star Galactaga,” for only the sixth time. I always cry when Starbuck becomes an angel and flies into the sun.
Shit, she was going to be here in ten minutes. I had thrown practically the entire contents of my closet on the bed. Not one pair of jeans would fit. The doctor shook his head at me the last time I was sitting on his table. In his thick, Persian accent blasting old man breath, he said I had to lose weight. He said I had an eating disorder and told me I needed to go to Overeater’s anonymous. I actually went. They put all of us fat, compulsive eaters in the same room with the bulimics and anorexics. We all had eating disorders they said. I was just lucky enough to have the kind that makes you a huge, ugly, eyesore to society.
At least the skinny ones were doing the world a favor by making themselves the picture of feminine, barely there attractiveness that society holds so very dear, even though they are told they are sick for trying so hard to get that acceptance from other people. As if everyone else isn’t trying to do the same thing. Overdeveloped outsides wrapping around their underdeveloped insides. The fatties, however, we are very different beasts entirely. We are worse than lazy. We are selfish and nonconforming to society’s standard of beauty, uncaring of the blithe we are imposing on eyes narrowed in scrutiny as we walk down cracking sidewalks. We are sick for not trying hard enough for outward validation.
Instead of transforming food into energy we transform it into walls of flesh. Borders that most would not dare to cross. Layers upon layers that protect us from any form of outward intimacy. Our body becoming something that we can hide behind, showing to the world only bulging, dimpled flesh, becoming invisible underneath it. The frail, tiny anorexics looked at us compulsive eaters fearfully, as if we would slurp them up at any given moment.
I sighed and settled on wearing what I always wear. A faded, black, long sleeve, knit shirt with a dark, olive green skirt that pretty much scraped the floor when I walked. I covered this with an oversized hoodie, also a faded black, completing my modern day burka.
“I see you dressed in your usual camouflage,” said my best friend, who is always trying too much to get me to go out.
“It is a war zone out there.” I replied promptly.
“Well c’mon then. We’ll smoke a joint on the way and you’ll feel better by the time we get there.” She said patronizingly. I tell my friends that pot makes my social phobia better. I even have my card. The truth is that all I want to do is lay in bed, in my bedroom that I painted a deep, endless indigo, whether I was stoned or not.
As we passed the joint in the car, my best friend babbled to me her gripes with her boyfriend. When she first introduced him to me, she introduced him as my dream guy. Certainly he was kind, handsome, and played guitar. His long hair framed big, dark eyes and his skin was rich like a mocha latte drink. I liked him immediately. She wanted us all to go out to the Malibu Inn together to see this amazing singer/songwriter from Hawaii. As we were driving to his house to pick him up, she looked up at me and said that she would want him for herself if she weren’t married. At the show they ended up making out all night long while I tossed back shots of cheap tequila. That was a year and a half ago, my best friend is now separated from her husband, and her and my dream guy are still together.
In the front of the store was a cheap, tinsel tree. The dirty cement floor had been painted with green and gold glitter and a fold up table with wine, crackers and cheese was displayed next to the cash register. I made my way towards the wine and busied myself with the task of pouring into a plastic glass.
I adjusted my gaze upwards and saw something that immediately turned my stomach into a brick. It was William. William was my best friend’s uncle. Seven years ago, when I was a stripper working out of a seedy club off of San Fernando road in Glendale, Uncle Will came in and I ended up going home with him. I had always wanted to fuck him and I knew he had his eye on me, the strip club was a perfect place to explore desires that both of us knew were only topical. I had played the role of the shy sex object and he played the role of the L.A. prince who could whisk a girl away from all of the filth. He pretended he could love me and I pretended that his dick wasn’t smaller than a super absorbent tampon. I also pretended to cum multiple times. I’m not really sure why, I guess I was trying to make him feel good about himself. I went home before the LA sky was dyed pink by the waking sun and he called me two weeks later. I never returned his call.
He was looking at me quizzically. I tried to avert my gaze, to disappear, I was in a panic. Uncle Will began to make his way towards me. Before I knew it, he was a foot away from my face.
“Rachel?” he asked.
“That’s me.” I had nowhere to run.
“I almost didn’t recognize you.”
“I know,” I replied too quickly. “I’ve put on a few pounds. Wow! It’s been forever, hasn’t it? How have you been?”
“Great,” he smiled. “I’m married now.”
‘Um, awesome!” I tried to nod my head in approval but ended up spilling some red wine on my shirt.
“How about you? I hear you have a kid now?” He was still looking at me in this half puzzled, even concerned way. It made me despise him intensely.
“Yah, it’s um, really great. Really great!”
“I heard something bad happened to you.”
“Yah, well, I was raped. But, I’m fine now, that was a pretty long time ago.” I smiled even more to reassure him that everything was indeed great.
“Well, I’m sorry that happened to you. If you need anything…”
“Yes, yes, thanks. I’m fine, really. Um, excuse me for a minute?” I began to back away and accidently bumped into someone. I turned and made my way to the bathroom. My best friend intercepted me with big eyes and a sheepish grin.
“Oh my god, honey. Uncle Will!” she giggled. “ I swear I didn’t know he was going to be here!”
I nodded and kept walking. I passed the bathroom and kept going until I was out of the store, blanketed in the crisp, LA air that signaled winter in Southern California. I fixed my eye on the darkest spot in the furthest distance and began to walk towards it.
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