January 16, 2009
By Sam Jonesi SILVER, Grain Valley, Missouri
Sam Jonesi SILVER, Grain Valley, Missouri
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Randy weighed 200 pounds. None of it muscle. Doughy. Pasty. Fat. He was all of these things. He yearned to change. He wanted to be thin like so many other men he had seen. They had so-called "six-packs" and when they sat down, there wasn't a little bulge underneath their shirts. Randy wanted to be like them.

Randy had a crush on a girl-- well several girls actually-- but the girl he loved the most was named Hannah. Hannah was a slight, pale, blond girl. She was a ballerina, and was quite beautiful and graceful. She was dating another guy, but Randy was sure that if he just lost some weight, she would gladly be his girlfriend. After all, it was his weight that was holding him back, right?

Randy didn't just want to lose weight, however. He also wanted to get a job. He wanted some spending money. He wanted a car, financial independence from his parents, all the latest video games and consoles. The usual. He wanted to be normal.

This was at the beginning of his freshman year. In eighth grade, he threw discus in track. Despite the initial "hell week", in which he was breathing hard for hours after practice, he really enjoyed track and he wanted to do other sports. He decided he would wrestle in the winter.

It so happened that wrestling had off-season workouts from the beginning of the school year to winter when it started. Randy made sure to attend these religiously. He would lift his heart out. He worked as hard as he possibly could. He didn't just lift, though. He also ran after weightlifting sessions. At first, he couldn't even run a single lap around a quarter-mile track. By homecoming, however, he ran a mile every day.

"So how much did you run yesterday?" Randy's friend Andrew asked him one morning in Spanish.

"Oh, just a mile." Randy said kind of embarassed. "Wait, just a mile?" Randy thought. "A mile is no joke! It's a test of endurance. The fact that you did a mile should be something you're proud of." Randy thought.

Winter came and wrestling with it. Randy wrestled for a week and quit. He found that he actually enjoyed the conditioning-- the running, weightlifting, etc. better than the wrestling itself. Despite quitting, he continued to run and do off-season workouts. By now it was too cold to run laps outside, so he ran for time inside.

Over the winter, his time added up. It started and ten minutes, and subtly, minute-by-minute, it creeped up to thirty minutes. Lap after lap after lap after lap. At the same time, the fat, subtly, pound-by-pound, it started to creep off. Every week he could count on losing a pound and a half, like clockwork.

Eventually, the wrestling mats were rolled up, and baseball equipment was erected in its place. Track season began, but Randy didn't want to join. He wanted to run, but didn't want to get bogged down in the messy business of an organized sport.

At this point, he wanted a real test of endurance, though. He had read about 10ks, or ten-kilometer races and wanted to see if he could run one. One fine spring day where it was warm and there were clouds in the sky, Randy proceeded to run around the same quarter-mile track that he couldn't run a single lap around that autumn. Lap after lap, mile after mile, until, an hour later, he had done it. He had ran twenty-five laps, or a 10k around the track.

Eventually, sheer curiousity got the better of him, and he joined track as a two-mile, and later a mile runner. At this point, he was a much leaner 150 pounds. He didn't have a six-pack, but it was certainly an improvement.

Over the summer, he got a job. It was washing dishes at a local restaurant. He always thought he'd love work, but he didn't. He hated it. With this job, he bought a car, video games, and many other things he always wanted, but something didn't feel right. Is this all there was to life?

Summer left and Randy quit his job. He had enough money saved up that he could continue driving his car. He wasn't seeing much of Hannah anymore. She probably hadn't even seen him thin, yet. School had lost its magic. He truly enjoyed his freshman year. During his sophmore year, however, his soul became... restless. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but he felt something was missing. He had surrounded himself with the things that would make him happy, but he wasn't happy. Did other people feel this way? Are things all there is in life?

He started to ponder back to the way he was before he had lost all that weight. So young, so naive. "Just lose that gut and you'll be happy.", Randy thought angrily. "I have surrounded myself with everything I need to make me happy. Why am I not happy?!! I feel a great pain like there is a hole within my soul that needs to be filled. Video games can only dull the pain, and they don't do that very well. What's missing?!!"

One fateful day in church, he finally got to see Hannah, in her slim perfection. "Um... hello, Hannah." He stammered. This was it, the day he was waiting for.

"Oh, hello." She answered back, cooly.

"Do you notice anything different about me?", Randy asked, hoping.

"No.", Hannah answered back. "Is there something different?"

"No, there isn't." Randy answered sadly.

Hannah walked away, leaving Randy alone.

The author's comments:
This is a semi-autobiographical short story. It is about a young man losing weight in the exact same way I lost weight myself. Weight-loss, however, is only the most visible change. After losing weight, he begins to question what he really wants in life and if his previous notions of what would make him happy were correct.

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