I submitted this story to the Your Story competition in Writer’s Digest, but it didn’t make the final cut. Instead of sulking, I’ve decided to celebrate my first submission of the year by sharing it with my readers. Meanwhile, I’m already working on two more pieces to submit in other competitions.
This piece was entered into contest #42, which gave the prompt of starting a story with the phrase “I’ve got to get out of these clothes . . . fast.”
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“I’ve got to get out of these clothes . . . fast,” I mutter.
My muffin top looks like the baker spooned too much dough into the paper cup. A year ago this size would have fit just fine, but now it threatens to give me a blood clot. As if that isn’t depressing enough, I’m in this predicament because my favorite jeans split right up the rear seam when I bent over to pick up the cat last night.
The fluorescent lights of the dressing room drains my skin of all color and makes me think I should have worn at least a little make-up. The jeans I’ve stuffed myself into bunch up under my hips and the back pockets refuse to lay flat or straight. Nothing ever fits right. Half the time I don’t know why I even try. Clothes are made for women too afraid to eat or fans of masochism.
I can hardly look at myself in the mirror, yet I stare and wonder why my curves are so ugly. I bubble out like a pear with my bulging gut, back fat, and wide thighs. Great. I look like a fruit I don’t like to eat. That’s right, skinny on top and global on the bottom. And I just keep getting more juicy and plump! Of course, my sister looks like a runway model with her beanpole frame and bright blue eyes. Where was the magic gene fairy when I was born?
The too tight jeans dig into my thighs and as I try to shimmy out of them. The waistband just won’t stretch another inch. Honestly, why does all the fat settle just above the knee? Giving up on the pants, I try to wiggle out of the shirt, but the shoulder seams clamp down the moment I move my arms.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Oh, no! Was that the sleeve?
Now stuck with jeans wrapped around my legs and my arms cinched in a shirt that will not come off, my confidence deflates as though it’s just sprung a leak. Too bad my balloon butt can’t do the same thing. Tears burn my eyes and I slowly sink into the bench.
Why can’t I be beautiful?
A sick feeling of disappointment churns in my stomach. It doesn’t matter what I do. I’ll never be a Size 2 or the blonde who flaunts it because she has the right to feel pretty. So, why not give me extra fries with that large chocolate shake, please.
A little tap sounds on the dressing room door.
“Ma’am, are you okay?”
I wipe my tears and suck in a deep breath. No.
“Yes, I’m fine.”
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