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Just, Fat

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Fat. Ugh.
I turn away from the mirror. I walk past all those Size-2 racks, taking eight steps. I reach accessories; nothing that requires size! I turn to the scarf section. Another mirror.
Fat.
What is it with this store and mirrors? Can’t they keep them in the dressing room and allow me to shop while I happily shun my body? Moving on to hats. The light blue one with the bow calls me closer. I ignore it, not wanting to have to look in another mirror, but it stubbornly keeps insisting. I give in and try it on. It floats nicely on my head, like a cloud. Its color probably looks nice with my hair. My hair is blonde because I experimented dying it with lemon juice, hoping for a pretty result. Although it didn’t make me look better, I liked the color more than my original stain brown. Me being blonde was new, and new is good; it’s different. Different is good. And different will make me look nice in this hat.
I walk to the closest mirror, two steps away.
Fat. Ugh.
Sure, the hat looks nice, but that’s only because my hair is cut and straightened. I had it done on Wednesday for my piano recital on Friday, but the party is on Saturday. He will be there, so if I left it straight, he would think that I haven’t washed it in three whole days. I can’t have him thinking that. He would think I’m disgusting. But it won’t be disgusting. I would wash it and straighten it again, for him. But he wouldn’t know that, and just assume I’m disgusting. I picture how the hat would look with hair that isn’t straight. Ew. This blond hair will make it look frizzier than it is.
I hate this blonde hair.
I want to be a brunette again.
I snatch off the hat. I try to calm down. I tell myself that I can’t wear a hat, anyways, because hats were never in, except in Paris in like, the 40’s. I hang the hat back up and notice the price tag. WHAT? $30 for a hat? I think I might have said that out loud, because every one is staring at me. But I don’t care! This is insane! Not all girls have billion dollar houses and hold blackberries and wear Burberry headbands and Gucci kitten heels and have long slick hair that looked perfect even after P.E. and can afford to buy hats for $30! It takes me a second to realize that the person I’m describing is the gorgeous employee staring back at me.
“May I help you?” She flashes a smile of pearly whites.
“Uh… Yeah… Do have any party dresses? Other than those…” I gesture to the Size-2 rack of dresses that hide only a fifth of leg. Those won’t do. Those will show that my thighs rub together when I walk. Fat.
“Of course! Come with me.” She is being too nice. But that’s her job. A girl like that wouldn’t be so nice to me otherwise.
She struts up the stairs and I stomp behind her, 14 steps. Her legs don’t rub together when she walks, with a good centimeter in between.
“How about this?” She is holding up a flower-print cocktail dress filled with bright colors. It is stunning and I love it! My eyes are probably popping with excitement.
She notices, “Oh, I knew you’d like it! I bought the same one; it’s perfect for all occasions!”
The smile on my face is wiped off. Of course it’s perfect for her! She is so thin you could wrap your hands around her thigh and have your fingers touch! I imagine the dress hanging loosely on her skinny waist. I read online that bright colors look bad on fat girls, that we should stick to black and brown.
“I don’t know,” I lie, “It’s not me… Do you have anything… darker?”
She senses my vibe, I can tell, because she picks up a longer, puffier black dress and says, “How about this? Black is slimming.”
She thinks she is being nice. She is so ignorant.
I try to sound calm, “It will do.”
I walk the five steps to the dressing room and make sure the dress is a Size 18 when she turns away.
It is.
Mirrors fill the dressing room.
Fat.
Two employee-stick-figures assist stick-figure-customers. None of them has much make-up on, just a hint of eyeliner and mascara, but I have smudged makeup so I look like a clown next to them. It must be nice to be naturally pretty. I’m starting to think that I’m in a game of Spot-The-Odd-One-Out.
I slide the door open and start stripping. I am not going to look in the mirror until the dress is on. The dress is now on so I look.
I hate this.
The dress is adorable, but I’m a floppy mess. I trace my body with my eyes. I tell myself that I’m not this fat, that the mirror makes me look fat.
But all at once, I break down.
I hug my knees and rock back and forth on the waxed floor. The dress is tight, so it’s hard to catch my sobs. I look at the now-blurry mirror, and see how my large tummy rolls have doubled in size since I’m sitting.
I cry harder.
I cry about my body that is about to tear the dress. I cry about my blond hair that has to be washed before Saturday. I cry about the stubborn blue hat. I cry about the reasons I am crying. When will I learn to accept myself?
I cry harder.
I cry and cry and cry until all my tears are poured out.
I take off the dress, almost ripping it. I decide that I won’t go to the party to see him. I will stay home and eat fries and listen to my glamorous indie rock’n’roll, just like any other Saturday. I put on my clothes and walk out of the dressing room, up the stairs, past the blue hat and scarf mirror, past the Size-2 rack, and out the door, counting my steps as I do so.
I text my dad and tell him to pick me up at the local Starbucks, two streets down. I am there before he is. It smells like pastries. I pass time deciding which Cinnamon Bun is the largest, which Mocca has the most chocolate, and summing up my total steps of the hour. My dad walks in.
“Hey, cupcake,” he smiles, “all done?”
I hate being called ‘Cupcake’.
“Yes,” I say, “Can I have a cookie?”
“Sure.”
I choose oatmeal raisin. He pays for it, and we leave.





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