Bitter tears rolled down his face, streaking across the blue shirt and ironed black trousers that encompassed his gentle 5 ft 10 in-200 pound body. And she watched him, heart breaking, mind going back to the conversation they had two weeks ago.
It was a breezy Saturday morning, and Cecily had slipped out silently to the bathroom, leaving Adrian sleeping on the cozy bed that adorned their matrimonial room. She stood before the mirror, eyes still saggy from sleep. Letting her hair fall down along her shoulders, she stepped on the weighing scale.
195 pounds. In black digits against an olive green LED lighting on the background.
She stepped down, feeling a nagging in her belly. It seemed nothing was working. After 2 years of marriage, starving and dieting, without any child and constant nagging from Adrian’s family, she felt the world caving in on her. She secretly envied her other friends with their elegant slender bodies and two kids, or those who had evenly distributed “curves”. Adrian had never supported her taking weight-loss pills, saying the effects were unpredictable. He also did not want her going for any operation, citing it as “a risky business”. Even though he never said anything about her sudden “acquisition of pounds”, Cecily wondered if she still was still desirable to him. Her mind floated to the numerous young women with flat bellies and trim bodies….
A gentle kiss on her neck brought her fantasies crashing to the floor, as a familiar set of hands hugged her from behind and the baritone voice she had so gotten used to hearing first every morning whispered softly into her ears, “Haven’t I told you not to believe every figure you see on this square digital contraption? Are you waiting for me to throw it away before you know I mean business?”
She opened her mouth, in self-defense but he hushed her with a soft kiss that made her forget all her words of “righteous justification”. When he knew that he had made his point, he looked into her caramel-colored eyes, a smile on his coarsely handsome face.
“I keep telling you, munchie that you are beautiful just the way you are” he started. “I love you so much and I know people change. In a world of waist trainers and so many other weird stuff ladies do to cheat times and seasons, you and I have something between us-and it’s real, beautiful and rare. It lives here” he pointed to her chest, “and here” he pointed his own chest. Holding her face in both palms, he kissed her forehead, and said softly, “I don’t care how fast you age, if your heart remains as young as it was when I fell in love with you. I don’t care about what my folks say; I married you, not them and we would have our kids, or adopt if the need arises. I’m not complaining; all I want is your happiness and trust me baby, that scale or my family are just too minute to take it away from you. Change is constant, and it’s a priceless gift to experience it with the one you love”
Tears stood in her eyes as her head rested on his chest. He stroked her jet black hair, with warmth in his eyes.
“Besides” he joked as he tickled her back to bed, “if you had remained as straight as back then when I met you in that karaoke bar, people gonna talk weird stuff like ‘hey, she burnin’ fat for ’em both, or she use hers to keep ’em warm during winter, so she gat nothin’ left fo her skinny frame’ We won’t want that would we?”
The memory stayed like fresh scent, making her smile. She remembered them passing a neighborhood gym and him teasing her to take a 30-day challenge, which they joked off with so much laughter because he had mentioned them rolling out like “wrecking balls”. Now, as she watched him cry uncontrollably, she just wanted to touch his shoulder and comfort his broken soul. She wanted to hold his face, just the way he had held hers that Saturday morning. Her heart burned with shame.
“I’m sorry, baby” she choked out amid sobs.
But he could not hear her. Going on one knee, he brought out an envelope, which slightly got hit by his tears and dropped it amidst the flowers that adorned her grave. On the envelope was written “Munchie”. He took it again, tracing every letter on the envelope, and then opened it.
And then she knew she had failed him miserably.
Inside the envelope was the 30-day gym fitness plan they had joked about, dated that same Saturday she had checked her weight, with a receipt, stamped “PAID” with both their names on it. He had been saving it for this day. Her birthday.
And she was gone.
As he slowly walked away from her grave, part of her wanted to turn the hands of time, to evade the liposuction she had secretly arranged with a “qualified” practitioner. The procedure that took her money.
And her life. And his happiness.
And left her trapped, in this in-between where time seemed to freeze. She watched Adrian’s slumped silhouette fade into the evening horizon as he slowly exited the cemetery, the envelope still in his hands. She wished she had listened to him.
As her in-between slowly began to turn to darkness, she struggled to block out the increasing emptiness that was overpowering her soul
“I’m sorry baby. I love you” she barely whispered. And she wished he heard her.
He never did.