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Mom fucked us with weight shit

by Emily Fontenot

            Both legs in. Stop at the thigh. Breathe. Jump. Jump again. Jump until they pull past my thighs and my big. fat. ass. Until I feel fabric touch my hips. Then jump one more time, cursing the low-rise trend as I force jeans over my love handles. Tug until it feels like the jeans are up my fucking vagina. I’ve never even used a tampon, yet somehow I endure this every time I have to wear jeans.


            Once they’re in place, stop again. Pray that they’ll still button, that the zipper will stay up. Remind myself that I was on my period last week and that’s why they were painfully tight. Promise myself that this week I’ll start, start over, start again. This time I’ll lose the weight. Suck in, hard. Button. Then zip. Keep holding my breath for three, two, one. Slowly exhale, don’t scare the zipper with the extra pressure of oxygen. Breathe.


            Give them ten minutes. They’ll stretch out. Then I’ll actually be able to move, to breathe. That’s just how jeans work.


            “We’re leaving in five minutes,” Mom calls to the house, accusatorily, like it wasn’t like this every Sunday.


            The zipper’s held. Will have to speed things up. Stretch a little. Bend. Help the fabric loosen. Wonder if they’ve been shrinking in the dryer. Remind myself to start hanging them to dry. Breathe again and walk out of my room, at least fix some cereal before y’all corral us out. 


            You, in the kitchen with a water from your ice chest. We didn’t drink bottled water in the house—it was a waste of money. You wipe the dew with a paper towel, ease the bottle into a huggie. It’s brown, subtle, the Logan Fournerat Cattle Company one. Smile. Walk past to the pantry. Grab a box of cereal.


            “The car’s already running.” You never were a breakfast person.


            “I’ll fix it in a cup. Take it with us.”


            Gather cup and spoon. Pour cereal, milk. Walk over to the island. Drop spoon. Great. Jeans aren’t stretched out yet. Bend slowly, at the waist—not the knees—to pick it up.


            “Bend your knees.” Your voice is suddenly harsh, angry.


            Three things go through my mind one right after the other:


            Red. Hot. Everywhere. Not anger. A flush. Embarrassment. 


            Was it that easy to tell? They fit. They buttoned, zipped then stayed. I had looked in the mirror. They fit. I’m a size six.      


            You couldn’t tell. And if you could? What was it to you? Couldn’t you let me handle it? They would stretch out. I would lose the weight. And since when did you care? Since when did you even see me? We let you have your denial. We let you believe all sorts of things: That your brother’s          . That your dad wasn’t             . That your sister didn’t                                 . That she had                                                            . Or better yet, that she hadn’t had to. Because it had never happened. That she hadn’t                             


            They fit.


            Did you think I was trying to be sexy? Mom said all guys ever thought about was sex. Did you think that’s what this was? Practice? Me? More red, flushed. Can you imagine? I can promise you, that’s not what this was. I could just see, feel every seam bursting if I bent at the knees, breaking the wooden planks locking them in place. They needed time to stretch out.


            And now my cereal was soggy. Throw it out. Go to the car, silent. 



            I don’t know if I’ll ever forgive you for that. 

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