Inevitable/It Is

            I get up at six to make the bus to get to Cynthia’s place.  She got out of bed at eight, just in time to open the door for me.  It’s not easy for her, four hundred fifty pounds altogether; she tells me that her heart races like mad when she straightens up in the morning, and half the time she expects to have a heart attack in the shower.  “What are they going to think about it, finding me naked in there, sprawled all over the place?” she used to say, as though anyone cares what dead people look like.

            “Morning, Cynth.”  I’m taller than her, so I lean down.  She holds my hand when we kiss, always has.

            “Nicely done, that kiss,” she says, giving me her rating out of ten.  She pulls me inside and feeds me coffee.  She cleaned up from the night before, but later I pull open the garbage bag and find the pizza box and the six-pack of pop, the quart of ice cream licked clean, and a full head of broccoli all wilted and yellow.

            “What did you have for dinner last night?”

            “Broccoli. I steamed it and made some cheese sauce.  It was disgusting.”

            “Why didn’t you stir fry it with some chicken?”

            “Chicken doesn’t make broccoli taste better.  Come in here.”

            She’s in bed and tells me to join her.  “It’s not polite to go through people’s garbage.”

            The day goes by.  We snuggle in the bed, and she takes great pains to pretend she’s not loosening up my clothing.  “Tell me about your lawyer schooling, Mr. Lawyer,” she breathes, and then in the tradition of the best part of Cynth, she pretends to be one of my professors, delivering a lecture.  It’s amazing how many legal terms Cynth has picked up on, how easily and accurately she uses them as part of her lawyer jokes.  I laugh, half-naked.  She has no qualms about lying on top of me.  “When are you going to dump me?”

            “Tomorrow, more than likely.  Over the phone.  While fucking some other girl.”

            “A lawyer girlie?” she asks.  She is moving on top of me now, carefully and slowly.  There aren’t enough adverbs to describe exactly how she is doing what she is doing.  “I don’t mind.  It’s inevitable.”

            “Is it?”

            “You know it.  Couples like me and you don’t last.  Most of the time they don’t even begin.”

            “You’ve done some research have you, Cynth?” I ask, helping her onto her back.

            “I spent longer in school than you,” she breathes.  “I belong with a fat guy.  But I hate fat guys.”

            “I know a couple of nice ones.  Funny thing is, they’re all nice, aren’t they?”  Cynth shows me her teeth.  “But you’re right.  This won’t work.  It can’t work.  It’s written down somewhere.  It’ll probably be a lawyer girlie that I dump you for.  Redhead.  Thin as anything but with lots of muscles.  Mini-skirts all the time, and nice tight whore boots on the weekend.  Rich folks.  Audi but heading for a Porsche.  Nice apartment uptown.”

            “I hate redheads,” she growls.  She pulls me towards her.  I always tell her that the other thing is inevitable, too, that I happen to be sure in moments like this that Cynth is a type of goddess, one men would have worshipped long ago and carried around in a litter or something.   I tell her over and over again about the first time I saw her, what I saw, why I came over and asked to sit with her, why I bought her a coffee, asked her out, introduced her to my friends, my folks, stayed with her for four years and counting.  But mostly I ask her why I have to tell her any of that.  And when she pushes the issue, I mention that it’s just a matter of gravity, the inevitable draw of mass being attracted to greater mass – and though she hates that little joke, thinks its beneath me, it makes her so mad that she proceeds to fuck like a bandit.

            Later, she uses a little voice to ask for chicken wings.  “Bad idea, Cynth.  Don’t think you need that.  And you know I hate chicken wings.”

            “Posh lawyer, always looking for capers and curries and the like.  Just dump me already.”

            “Later maybe.  After I feed you some soup.  Are you ready for the weekend with my cousins?  Still nervous about the plane trip?”

            The retching sound she started at the mention of soup dies down.  “I’m more nervous about the cousins than the plane.”

            “I had to get you two seats.  Airline rules.”

            “So?  Tell me about the cousins again.  What do they look like?  What do they do?”  I flip through the photos on my phone.  “Which are the funny ones?” she asks.  I show her.  When we’re done, she throws the phone on the floor.  “Do you know that I am 2.8 times heavier than you?”

            “Who bought you a calculator?  And then showed you how to use it?”

            And Cynth stares at me.  Her eyes are blue, like a deer’s would be if you could paint them on the moon.  She takes care of her eyebrows, and her hair is straight and blond, long enough to touch her shoulder blades.  Her skin is perfect, and white.  Her ears are shaped like pearls.  “What is wrong with you?” she whispers, and then waits for the response that I make for the hundred thousandth time, a few words different from the last version, but not many.  Not many at all.

            When she’s asleep, I order the chicken wings.  They show up in half an hour, a plastic basket with checkered wax paper holding plastic tooth picks shaped like swords.  I unwrap them on the living room table.  At least they sent some vegetable sticks, wilted celery and dried-out carrot with blue cheese dressing that’s old enough to have separated.  Cynth is snoring hard, enough to make the bed click.  I listen to her.  This weekend, it’s Monterrey for Cynth; next month it’s Santorini in the Greek sun.  After that, she has a full schedule on the family circuit, ending with my grandparents in Toronto.  Cynth has a lot to do with me.  It’s inevitable.

            The wings are staring at me.  I eat one; it’s terrible.  I put some hot sauce on the rest and dig in.  It’s hard to get through them all, but the beer in Cynth’s fridge helps with that.  When the wings are gone, I flush the bones, because sometimes Cynth likes to chew on them.  All that’s left are the vegetables, and they look awful.  I wrap them up in the wax paper, which is slick with barbeque sauce.  Walk to the bedroom and nudge her.  “Hey wake up.  Come on, I got you some food.”  She’s awake.  And she doesn’t like my joke.  And she doesn’t like it that I don’t like chicken wings.  But she chews through the celery with a sneer on her face, then licks the barbeque sauce off the carrots and eats them too.  She gets around to laughing eventually, and tells me to put my ear to her stomach so that I can hear it rumbling.  She’s right.  It is.


Dream hard, rage hard.

87 thoughts on “Inevitable/It Is

  1. This is what fat girls dream…so why are you dreaming it? Of course, that it was a dream is an assumption on my part, likely wrong. Maybe you have daily dealings at the water cooler with a matabo-challenged young woman…or maybe this came off that beautiful moon like a rocket shot straight to your brain. In any case, it gives a girl some hope…that one day she can laugh at herself and that men will truly believe it is just a gravitational inevitability. Either that, or it’s a fat girl’s worst nightmare…a beau who hates chicken wings….f&%k that!

    1. It ain’t me, SB. Just about someone I saw long ago, and the person she was with; they fit this description, but it didn’t seem to me based on what I saw that he was necessarily worthy of her.

    1. Chicken wings (I can’t believe the number of comments I’m getting on hating chicken wings; it’s like not really the point of the story!) used to be considered a waste meat product and were typically fed to pigs until someone started marketing them as a snack-type food. They used to be counted against the other value of a chicken, now they’re insanely profitable.

  2. Chicken wings are one of my favourite things. My husband won’t touch them. I can so relate to Cynth on this one.
    It is a little eerie how well you seem to see/feel through a heavy woman’s mind. Always, dreaming of finding a wonderful man that can see past her appearance but never trusting that one would. Being able to write both characters so clearly is quite remarkable.

    1. I flip about in my mind, Michele, try to put myself into the heads of people who are as far away from myself as I can find. I don’t always succeed. But it’s a hell of a challenge.

    1. Some may say that about me when they see me with my wife… I’m just glad love works and succeeds at times. Despite anything as small as what you look like.

  3. Guap is right. I think this guy is snidely referred to as a “chubby chaser,” but who can explain love? And men are supposed to be visual animals. That’s what was so surprising about this. I’m glad to see you use “pop.” That kind of took me back a little bit.

    1. I hate that term.

      Just being a romantic, Mark. I am one. I don’t think physical stuff is much important; evidently my wife believes this too.

      Pop… just what we call it. We only use soda for that fizzy tasteless stuff.

      1. The love is the beautiful part. She is meeting his family, after all. Not just anyone gets to do that. The sad part is that she seems to that love.

    1. Another person who sees a hint of sadness to the tale, though from another perspective. A little sad the other little things the characters ignored about love -a sad picture contrasting with the weight of the little beautiful things in their love… a little dot of sadness against a much bigger white background.

  4. I couldn’t agree more… nothing makes broccoli taste better… now I am wondering if my Xxo characters from the novels look like giant two-ended broccoli for some deep-seated psychological reason… there… you made me think… are you happy now?

  5. Another fantastic bit of writing. The characters feel real, their story feels real. Well done.
    And, while I want to agree with everyone else that “not liking chicken wings is like hating America,” alas, The Queen is not a fan, so I know it is possible. But, I’m pretty sure she’s just the exception that proves the rule.

    1. She likely is. I like wings too. Crike, you’d think I was trying to make a statement about wings with this piece…

      Thanks for the words, Matticus.

  6. Excellent piece. I agree with the above commentary on chicken wings. I’m 95% vegetarian, with the 5% being reserved for chicken wings and bacon.

      1. Yeah, vegetarian isn’t really the right word. I try to eat non-meat proteins most of the time, eating meat only when I REALLY want it, as opposed to eating it as my default. If that makes sense? I’ve had a few glasses of (vegetarian) wine.

          1. Not back yet! We took the longest honeymoon we could – 2.5 weeks in the Caribbean plus a few days to recover. I’ll be back to regular blogging sometime next week, but I’ll try to do another photo post in the meantime !

  7. I love your descriptions of your characters. Really vivid, and also captures a feeling about them, not just descriptive. I get the sense that he isn’t fully committed, maybe because they’re not married, or I’m just identifying so much with Cynthia. This is great stuff!

    1. I worked with a writer once who stared at me after telling the class about “show don’t tell”. He just stared and started and stared, as though he were showing me something rather than telling me it. He really creeped me out, but I’ve never forgotten that.

      I hope (and think) that the guy is actually very committed to her. And she doesn’t really understand that, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. I think she’s gorgeous.

      1. That guy does sound creepy. Okay then!

        I think I only said because I don’t think this couple lives together or are married. That’s very shallow of me. He does go out of his way to spend time with her, so who cares. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder and all that matters.

        1. It’s all good, I try to leave things open to different perspectives. In my mind, theyr’e not married, they’re a couple, and he loves her, but she’s not always sure why. Anyway, I figure characters are no longer yours when you finish up with them, so I’m open to any interpretation.

  8. Lovely writing, Trend. My eldest sister was engaged to a sailor who sailed away. While he was gone, she gained 75 lbs. when he saw her on the dock, he said “I’m glad I won’t hurt myself when I jump on you.” That’s love.

    And I don’t like chicken wings. They are skin and bone.

      1. It is sweet. Ow was. It was not a match made in heaven. My sister left him a week before their 25th anniversary. C’est la vie.

  9. I know I have met Cynthia before somewhere, she’s confident and so fragile at the same time if she was thin she’d be really really thin. is that your drawing in the header?

    1. No, I found it somewhere. I don’t remember where. I wish I could draw like that. Or create like you. It is the villain from Blade Runner, as he sits down to die in the rain. A moment that never leaves me.

  10. Often the type of men attracted to fat women are not always nice guys. They take advantage of the women & treat them badly because the women think they can’t do any better. Some of the men are nice, but some of them are weird too. But it does make you wonder when you see a seriously obese person with a skinny person. Hubby & I are both on the heavy side.

    1. I think the thing is, I wanted to paint a picture of a person who just didn’t wonder about who he was with at all. He just wants those eyes painted on the moon. Call me an optimist, but I want people to fall in love with those you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to fall in love with… I think that’s what defines love.

      I’m so bad at judgement, I find. I don’t bother. I have a hard time telling if bloggers are male or female. Anyway, I hope love wins. I really do.

    1. Audra! Where you been? Tucked under the covers to get out of the snow? Me too.

      This is the same story as from before, but heavily retooled. Wanted to get back to it, because I felt it deserved more.

      Great to hear from you – hope you’ve got a post or two lined up.

      1. I like what you did. I liked it before too. Hell, I like you 🙂
        I’ve been lurking about… Buried in snow, work, academia and kids. Stir in a husband and I’m downright loco.

        I miss writing

    1. Oh come now… Sigh, I’m still waiting on Monday for CBC to give a shout-out, if only they would. I figure 5 in 36 is not that bad odds, right? Love me, CBC!

  11. Nothing is inevitable. Maybe except you making into the short-story finals.
    Sorry, that’s the best I got. I feel like any comment of mine will look puny and ugly next to the story – kind of like your protagonist next to the big and beautiful Cynthia.

      1. Do you ever not like your characters? This is not a rhetorical question, I’d like to know how a real writer thinks. As in “I hate that character, I wish something bad happens to him”…

  12. Trent! This must be my favourite. So so good. Sorry I can’t add more to this comment other than saying you can fucking write.

  13. There’s someone for everyone, and this story was beautiful. The only thing that makes me a bit sad, is that after 4 years she still wonders why he’s there. Amazing bit of writing!!

    1. Thank you so much. I love these characters, even with their insecurities. Glad you found the beauty – I think of this as a love story, I really do.

    1. Don’t tell anyone, Jones, but I’m prone to writing love stories at times. But I do think his family are assholes – he might be the exception.

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