(Short Story Fiction) Does anyone really plan to get fat? It’s a very unintentional thing that happens over the course of many days and months because, well… life happens. This is a small part of a day in the life of the ever-so-frustrated Brenda Mays. Can you relate to her struggles? Can you pinpoint her snafus? What can Brenda do differently to get the results she desires?
BRENDA IS GETTING FAT
Brenda Mays rooted through the pile of dirty clothes in her laundry basket. She picked out her favorite pair of black workout capris and smelled the butt part of the pants.
“Mom? What the heck are you doing?” Brenda’s teenage son, James, was standing in the doorway of his mother’s bedroom.
“Calm down, boy,” she said in dismissive tone. “I only had these pants on for 20 minutes yesterday. I was gonna workout but I got held up watching the Maury show. These pants smell just fine. They ain’t dirty yet.”
“I don’t care. Stop sniffing your butt.”
Brenda defended herself. “I am NOT sniffing my butt! I just… I… ehh, whatever, boy. I don’t know why I’m trying to explain myself to you anyway. Now get on outta my room so I can change into my workout clothes.”
“I’m not in your room. I’m in the hallway at your door,” said James with a sarcastic smile. Brenda gave him that quiet, threatening mom-stare you get when you misbehave in church. She threw her pink slipper at him and it hit the wall. Brenda was a terrible aim. Attacking her children with indoor footwear was obviously not her forte. She cracked a smile and tried not to laugh, but the attempt to regain her serious-face had already failed.
“Not even close.” James laughed and tossed the slipper back at her into the room before he slid away on the hallway’s hardwood using his tube socks as a pair of skates.
“Yo, Katie. Your mom is sniffing her butt.” James giggled as he peeked into his little sister’s room to inform her of their mother’s creepy behavior. Katie was busy watching a Youtube makeup tutorial on her tablet. By adult standards she was succeeding at making herself look like a total clown but, at the age of six, Katie was proud of the look she accomplished.
James’ eyes were wide in shock when he saw his sister’s face. She had applied purple eyeshadow that somehow made it onto most of her face with barely any on her actual eyelids. Red lipstick stuck to her teeth.
Katie gave him her best please don’t tell mom puppy eyes, communicated through unspoken sibling language that science would prove happens by way of an invisible brain wave connection that siblings share (if only science had the funding to prove it).
James whispered, “You look beautiful,” before he quietly slinked further down the hall to the top of stairs. He barelled down the steps with an obnoxious gallop that would put a stampede of baby elephants to shame.
Brenda was busy squeezing into her capris. “Stop running down the damn stairs!” she yelled out to him. She lifted up her shirt a little bit to examine the waste of the pants. “Crap. I can’t workout in these. They must’ve shrank in the dryer.”
The waist cut into her stomach. The bottom of the capris strangled the circulation in her calves. She couldn’t go out for a jog like that.
With a frustrated huff Brenda peeled off the capris and threw them onto her bed. She pulled some loungy sweatpants from her dresser with an alternative plan to do some quick ab work after a light breakfast.
“Mommy, hug meeeeee!” Katie ran into Brenda’s room and wrapped her arms around her mother. The child was smart enough to remove the makeup with some baby wipes beforehand but, judging from the leftover mascara smeared under Katie’s eyes, Brenda knew the girl had been up to something again. Katie looked like Frankenstein’s great-great-granddaughter. Or was it a Kardashian with no makeup on? Could’ve been either or.
“Awww, baby I love you, too.” Brenda smiled from ear to ear and gave her daughter a bear hug.
“Mommy, I love your belly.” Katie rubbed Brenda’s tummy. “It’s so soft and squishy.”
Brenda blurted out in laughter. “Ha! Well, uhh, thank you, my dear. I’m glad you love mommy’s squishy tummy.” She continued to hold Katie tight as she let out a silent sigh and shook her head at the terrible compliment.
She kissed Katie on her forehead. “Go on downstairs now. Daddy is making us fruit smoothies for breakfast.”
“I don’t want a smoothie. I want pancakes,” insisted the girl.
“Please. No complaining today, Katie.”
“But I want pannnncakes.” Katie spoke with sorrowful angst that only a 6-year old knows due to a very hard life of being denied what they want.
“Your daddy’s smoothies are healthy and they taste so good. Now get on downstairs, little woman.”
Katie slowly walked away with slumped shoulders.
“And yes. I know you’ve been in my makeup again,” said Brenda.
Katie immediately un-slumped herself and looked at her mom with the face of a guilty dog that had just chewed through an entire closet of shoes. In an effort to avoid prosecution for her makeup crimes, she darted out the room and down the stairs without saying a word. She, too, sounded like an animal herd banging down the staircase. But a much quieter kind. Maybe a pack of juvenile hyenas on the hunt to slay an unsuspecting giraffe. What a terrible sound.
Brenda met up with her family ten minutes later in the kitchen. The idea of a tasty fruit smoothie sounded good, considering her morning jog had been derailed.
“What is this? What’s going on?” Brenda was confused. Her husband, Dan, was flipping pancakes on their cast iron griddle.
“Hey, honey. Mornin’ to ya! You ready for some pancakes? We ran out of maple syrup but we’ve got the other kind sweetened with high fructose on standby. It won’t hurt just this once. You okay with that?” Dan was way too jolly for a man who had no maple syrup to offer his family.
“What about the smoothies? You’re supposed to be making the smoothies.”
“Oh yeah, I know but Katie wanted pancakes instead,” explained Dan. “So we’re just gonna have us a comfort meal for breakfast. I can do smoothies next time. You want some bacon with your pancakes?”
Brenda searched for Katie, who had just hid behind her father. Only the top of the girl’s head and her left eye peeked out from behind her dad’s back.
Dan was unaware of Katie’s scheming. And he didn’t know how important the smoothies were to Brenda this morning. He was simply on a mission to make pancakes to please his beautiful daughter, yet he could read the disappointment on his wife’s face. Brenda was the sacrificial lamb in this hungry situation.
“You know what, how about I make both. Pancakes and smoothies for everybody!!” Dan did his best to hype up the situation with excitement.
“No. Just forget it. It’ll take two pancakes. Actually, make it three. I don’t even want a smoothie anymore.” Brenda felt defeated. It wasn’t even 10am yet, but her attempt at a healthy day seemed totally obliterated.
Brenda spent the rest of her Saturday not doing laundry. She was simply in too much of a funk to do anything productive. By Sunday the groceries had still not been bought for the coming week and no food planning was done. As Brenda lay on the couch Sunday afternoon, Katie approached her mom and rubbed her belly.
“Mommy, I love your belly,” said Katie.
“Yeah yeah. I know,” said Brenda in a huff. “It’s so squishy. Don’t I freakin’ know it.”