I Could Hear the Steady Thumping of Hip-Hop...

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I could hear the steady thumping of hip-hop as my mother, Anna, and I walked towards the store filled with sequins, lime green, and pink. This is where Anna had bought her prom dress and where she was convinced I should buy mine. “But you loved my dress, right?” was her main argument when I insisted on the car ride there that I wouldn’t find anything. I just nodded and agreed that I would find the perfect dress because I didn’t want to say (especially in front of my mom) why I knew I wouldn’t find anything there. Because I’m fat. Anna is not fat. Skinny girls don’t understand that fat girls don’t look good in tight, shiny, canary yellow numbers. Or maybe Anna did know and she just didn’t want to let on that she noticed that new roll of fat below my navel or how my upper arms swung back and forth when I waved hello to her in the morning.


Anna ran up to the store window. “Oh my GOD, Carly! This dress is SO you.” My mother and I followed her up to the display. Anna had obviously never noticed that every day I wear a dark colored hoodie and jeans, nothing close to a black, chained, dominatrix-looking mini-dress. Luckily mom suggested that we keep looking. I entered the store and started vainly searching for the perfect dark-colored Empire-waist dress that Seventeen says is best for “curvy” girls. My mom found a floor-length white dress and said that I look lovely in white and that I should try it on. I tried to explain to her that that shade of white makes me look like a cadaver and that she looks good in white, but she kept shoving it at me so we made our way to the dressing room. Anna and Mom waited outside while I tried on the dress. It not only made me look like a cadaver, but it pulled and cinched the places on my body that should never be pulled or cinched. It made me look like a large blob with some detailed beading at the top. I called out, “Um, this isn’t right” but Anna and Mom wanted to see it. I didn’t want to show them, but I didn’t want to tell them why, either. I opened the door gingerly, hoping that if they just saw the cap sleeve that would be enough. It wasn’t. Anna pushed the door open and stepped back to look at the dress. “Hmm…maybe another color?” My mom, not being nearly this diplomatic, pursed her lips. “That is not a flattering fit.” Of course, I knew that, but apparently what I thought just wasn’t enough, everyone had to confirm that I looked like a fat cow.


Anna, while I was trying on the white dress, and brought me the dominatrix dress to try on. I went behind the safe covering of the door and slipped it on. The shiny black material stretched over my hips and made my butt look huge. Anna, of course, had to see it. When I opened the dressing room door to show her that obviously this store would have nothing for girls my size, she gasped. “Oh my God, Anna. You look horrible.” My mom glared at Anna and hugged me while I burst into tears. I could feel other customers, happy with their skinny bodies; pass me by, trying to ignore the fat girl. My mom rubbed my arm and whispered, “Don’t worry, we’ll try another store, Honey.” I nodded, went into the dressing room, slipped off the dress, and put back on my blessedly loose hoodie.


As we were leaving the store my mom suggested that we get smoothies. I said I didn’t want one even though I was starving. Self-magazine had just had an article about how much sugar and how many calories are really in one of those things. Anna went up and got one for her. She came back with two. “Here, Carly. I thought you could use one.” I didn’t want to tell her that I didn’t need the calories, so I took it and started to sip on it as we were walking to the next store. Anna and my mom made small talk about how seventies all of the styles were and how pretty I’d look in a dress like this one in Vogue or that one in Cosmo. All I could think of was the smoothie pouring directly into my hips. I ran to the nearest bathroom and pushed past the long line of people to a newly open stall. I leaned in front of the toilet and pushed my finger as far down my throat as I could.


When I was finished I felt relieved, reborn. I walked out of the bathroom a thinner, happier person.


My mom and Anna met me outside. My mom was sitting on a bench, crying. Anna came up to me. “Hey, um…I think maybe we should take you to a hospital or something.” I was startled, confused. “What do you mean? Is Mom okay?” Anna dug her hands into her size 2 pockets. “Well, like…you’re kind of skeletal and can’t even finish a freaking smoothie…I mean, you’re not healthy.” I laughed, “I appreciate you trying to make me feel better, but calling me skinny isn’t going to make my rolls go away.” My mom walked up to me and ran her fingers through my hair. A couple small tufts of hair left my head with her hand.





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