Snippet from “Fat People:” “Dear Diary,”
“Fatty, fatty, two by four,
Couldn’t fit through the bathroom door,
So she did it on the floor.”
Since Marty’s visit to the principal’s office, he no longer sings the words out loud. He just hums it, stressing the rhythmic accents when I pass him, usually loud enough so the others can hear him, but not loud enough for the hall proctor to hear. I don’t care anymore. I guess I’m use to all those pathetic looks.
I wasn’t a fat baby. I didn’t really begin to get fat until I was about ten and mom took her job at the agency. Now, except for breakfast when everyone’s more or less around, I’m pretty much left to my own devices in the kitchen but I never learned to cook. My favorite snack is a sandwich I make with that really square bread that comes in a perfectly square loaf. I make it slowly to get it just right and I eat it slowly to savor it and then I often don’t want to have another, though sometimes I do. The bread is white with a light crust and melts in your mouth. It never dries out like those fancy breads you have to slice by hand. I really like Miracle Whip too. It has more flavor than mayo which is kind of yucky.
First, I lay down two pieces of bread and spread some Miracle Whip on both slices evenly so it goes all the way out to the edge of the slices. Then I lay two slices of the yellow American cheese on the left hand piece of bread. I make sure they are offset a little bit to cover the bread better. I usually do the last minute shopping and buy the cheese without a piece of plastic between every slice. I hate that. It just leaves a mess of plastic film that glares at you from the trashcan. To really cover it, one would need four slices, all offset evenly, but then Dad would notice the cheese packet going down too fast and would probably say something embarrassing at dinner as he usually does. Funny, I never say anything about the six-packs that disappear sometimes in one night. I don’t know why he should be counting the slices of cheese in the fridge, but he does. I like the yellow kind better than the pale white. It just looks more like cheese, I guess. I don’t like fancy cheeses either. Those are for the gourmets. I like plain yellow cheese. There is a tangy taste to it that I like. Janice says it’s rubbery and should only be used to calk windows, but she doesn’t really appreciate food. For her, it’s all about appearances and pretending to know more about food than anyone else does or cares about. She’s kind of a food snob.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to say all that much, but I do like cheese sandwiches. Sometimes I buy my own packet of cheese at the gas station on the way home and just hide it in the vegetable bin under the lettuce. No one in our house eats anything from the vegetable bin–I don’t know why Mom even buys the stuff she puts in there. It just turns brown and gets yucky and has to be thrown out. The bottom of the vegetable bin has some kind of soupy goo that seems to run out of the rotting vegetables. Dad likes carrots so he keeps them up near his six-pack. Anything in the vegetable bin is doomed. Why buy it? When I put my cheese in there, I always wrap it in an outer plastic bag so none of the goo gets on it. Nobody ever discovers it there and if they did, I would just say, “Oh, I must’ve put it away in the wrong place.”
I used to hide Oreos in the pot closet inside the turkey roasting pan which we only use once or twice a year or once in the mop bucket in the broom closet. No one’s ever in my memory mopped anything in this house. When somebody spills something, they just clean it up with a sponge if it’s small or a bathroom towel if it’s a large spill. Aunt Jessica found my Oreos once in there, but the mystery was never solved and I was never implicated, though Dad gave me funny looks at the table. He counts the Oreos too. Luckily, I’ve kind of outgrown Oreos, but not cheese sandwiches.
Mom keeps hanging up my bathrobe in the closet. I hang it on the hook on the door where it covers the full-length mirror Dad bought me for my 10th birthday. I guess he thought I would like to look at myself. I know that’s what girls are supposed to do. I tried it for awhile, but when I began to get fat, it only reminded me. Now I pretend it isn’t a mirror, but a boy looking at me naked so I keep it covered with my bathrobe. I don’t know why I’m surprised when the bathrobe is gone. They want me to like the mirror, but I don’t. I don’t hate the mirror itself. I hate my image in it.
When I started my periods, I realized a lot was changing and I began looking at myself in the mirror more to see what was happening to me. I didn’t like what I saw ’cause I couldn’t really tell. The fat around my belly now overhangs my vagina so I can’t even see the pubic hair starting to grow there unless I pull what the school nurse called the “apron of fat” up.
I first heard the awful term when she ran a special class for us fat girls to teach us about bodily hygiene. It was disgusting and humiliating. She also went on about diets, but no one really listened to that part. We’re all just waiting for that “diet pill” we keep reading about in the girlzines.
At school, Janice and her bitches found out about the class, even though it was supposed to be private and made a big deal about it like they always do. I think it makes them feel more attractive to boys if they can make us fat girls feel ugly, and we are.
I’ve been trying to figure out whether I will have big breasts or small ones like Janice, but I can’t tell and that’s annoying. I can’t tell what’s fat and what’s breast. It all just looks like more fat. My nipples are more prominent now, but my breasts don’t have any shape because of all the fat and besides, Mom said there are no training bras in my size. I want to be pretty, but the fat hides everything, sometimes even my eyes now.
Last month Dad got all energy-conscious and put window blankets on all our windows. They’re supposed to save on our heating bill. I don’t get it. I thought we were saving by keeping the house freezing all the time. Sometimes, I just sleep in my jeans and a sweater when it’s really cold, but that’s not what I meant to say. The window quilt in my room reminds me of what I look like, with its fat folds all hanging down. So now I keep it down even in the day. Who needs a mirror with that to look at?