Dinner time for most people is a joyous occasion. Nothing like a nice warm meal in your belly, to make you feel content and completely satisfied. That is how meal time use to be for me. That is until I hit the 9th grade. All of a sudden my body decided that it needed to absorb everything and anything that I ate. Within no time at all, my waistline, to my absolute horror, started to expand.
I am 100% convinced that my dear twin stole my metabolism in the womb. It just took till I was a teenager for it all to catch up with me. The bottomless pit. Jealous wouldn’t even begin to describe the utter loathing I felt towards his eating habits. Sometimes I would sit there in my chair, just watching him the entire meal. Eyes beginning to squint deeper and deeper, as he shoveled more and more food into his mouth. It was enough to make me lose my appetite all together.
Now before you get too overly concerned. I do have a bit of a weight…influx, that is true, but I didn’t have an eating disorder. Thank sweetness… I liked food way too much to starve myself, but I did try to limit the intake. It worked for a while, and then I would feel like I was going to starve to death (which was physically impossible) and ended up stuffing my face with all the wrong things. It was a vicious cycle that I had yet to figure a way out of. I don’t know, that might be a kind of eating disorder all on it’s own, but hey at least I wasn’t forcing myself to throw it all up. Right?
At least someone was enjoying seconds. My dear bestie of all bests was a lot like my brother in that way. She could eat anything that was set down in front of her and wouldn’t gain a pound. For some reason from her it was easier to swallow (so to speak). I guess because she wasn’t blood related, so there was no possible way to blame her for my faulty hormonal system. What ever the reason, It didn’t hurt nearly as bad to watch her stuff herself till she was ready to pop, like it did with my brother.
“Mrs. Chiffon, this carbornara is amazing!” Cerese muffled as she shoveled another heaping forkful in her mouth.
“Why thank you dear. I still got some magic in these hands. It just takes me longer because I can never find the pans!” My grandmother chuckled taking another small bite. Effortlessly she guided the fork to her mouth. I had seen her do it a hundred times but it still amazed me every time.
Poor Cerese wasn’t very good at taking my grandmothers jokes. Always afraid that if she laughed she might offend her, she just sat there in awkward silence instead. Countless times I had tried explaining, that her blindness didn’t ever keep her from doing what she wanted, and her sense of humor about it reflected that. Still she preferred to just meekly smile, and wait it out till the coast was clear.
Half way through our meal, Affair burst into the room with a heartbroken look all over his face. “What is this? Dinner with out me?” Standing in the doorway, he waited impatiently for an answer, tapping his foot and huffing every few seconds. Finally my mother decided she better answer before he stood there and starved to death.
“Sweetheart we sent you a message like an hour ago. Didn’t you get it?”
“No. And there is no message on my phone either.” Affair pulled his phone from his pocket, but stopped short, when the mystery text message magically materialized before his eyes. “Oh, I guess you did send one.”
“There is a plate all made up for you in the kitchen. You might have to pop it in the microwave, just give it a touch and see.”
Affair headed back into the kitchen, while the rest of us continued with our meal already in progress. A microwave ding later, he emerged back through the doorway, with his plate in hand and set it up at the bar. Why he chose to sit there, when there was still an open seat at the table I will never know. That was about the time my brother was starting to get weird. Couldn’t really put a fine point on it, but it was recognizable all the same. Strange behavior, strange movements, I never had the heart to say anything, but I was pretty sure he was one berry short of a full basket. If you know what I’m sayin.
It was just enough awkwardness to shut the entire table up. We ate the rest of our dinners in silence, throwing confused glances at each other every once in a while. Once dinner was over, Grandma got up and started to take every-one’s plates. Cerese tried to help, but in true “my grandmother’s” fashion, she vehemently refused. Collecting up all the flatware and motioning for Cerese to sit back down, my mother ran off to help grandma in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to offend her.” Cerese whined, slumping back down in her seat.
“You didn’t, I promise.”
Before we could discuss it further, Mom was back in the open doorway. “Who’s up for dessert?!”
That was my cue. I started to get up from the table, and to the best of my ability, not look upset while doing it. Not an easy thing to do, when you love dessert as much as I did, but if I just as much smelled something too deeply, I could feel myself gaining the weight.
“Do you want me to go with you?” Cerese inquired nervously.
“No, you enjoy. It’s key lime pie. Your favorite.”
“Yeah, but it is your favorite too.”
“It’s fine. Eat. I will be upstairs.
“If you’re sure.”
That was when we parted ways. Me up the stairs, and Cerese off to the kitchen for some sugary deliciousness. Story of my life. From the time I started to gain the weight, I had cut myself off of the sugary snacks. I had hoped it would help me lose some of the extra poundage, but it didn’t. It did however keep me from gaining. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but the thought of being heavier terrified me to no end, so it was better than nothing.
I know you are probably thinking, that my life must have been miserable, always depressed about my weight. Actually that was pretty much the opposite. It didn’t always bother me. I could go for weeks without worrying about it at all, but when I did start obsessing, it was pretty bad. Being a teenager, is bad enough, but being a heavy teenager, well it really sucked. Especially when your best friend is beanpole, standing next to her, it was easy to feel like the goodberry blimp.
What made it harder, was no one ever talked about it. You might think that would be a blessing, but it wasn’t. My parents always talked about how pretty I was. Which is part of their job description, and I knew they said it just so I wouldn’t feel worse than I already did some times. Cerese did a lot of the same. Thankfully though, I didn’t get teased very much about it in school, mostly in part to what I carried around my chest area. Due to my weight, I was rather large…er up top. Not huge, but much more developed than most of the other girls in my grade, so I got a lot of attention from boys in class, but for all the wrong reasons. I spent half my time at school, with my arms crossed, so my chest looked less inviting. Yeah pretty typical teenage stuff I guess. I don’t think it mattered who you are, at that age, we all have our insecurities, regardless of what size or shape you might happen to be.
“Wisty? Are you okay?” Cerese had managed to sneak back up the stairs, and straight into my room without me ever hearing a thing. I almost jumped clean out of my skin, when her voice broke up the silence in the room.
“Yup! Totally fine.” That was a bit of a lie, but shine on a smile and even half truths don’t feel quite so bad. “How was the pie?”
“Oh, it was good.” As an after thought to make me feel better, she decided to add. “But it was a little dry. You weren’t missing much.”
Cerese Cloudburst. If you were to look up best friend in the dictionary, her beaming smiling face would be right there. She was the best there ever was. Kind and caring, and always there if you were in need. We had actually met in junior high, but it wasn’t until after we had graduated from the eighth grade, that she and I became incredibly close. It all started with a phone call. It was two months into our summer vacation, and I hadn’t heard a word from her. This was unusually odd for her, so I decided I better call and check up. Come to find out she was conducting an experiment to see who would be the first to notice that she wasn’t calling, and lo and behold, I was the first to question. After finding out, I kinda felt bad it took me as long as it did. Cerese though, she was impressed and from that day forward we were always together. Through it all, thick and thin.
Boy were there some tough times. I regret to inform that during the course of our freshman year, Cerese’s father passed away. For most, losing a father would be the most devastating thing one could possibly go through. For Cerese it was even more than that. She adored her father to the ends and back. I was close with my father, but not nearly as close as they were. They did everything together, which was quite amazing, because Ceres was one of eight children. When he passed, it was just awful. I had never seen her so heartbroken.
I did my best, to be there for her, and boy was that tough. For some reason, I felt things, other peoples pain and emotions. Things that I probably shouldn’t have. Just the right tone in a voice, could make my eyes to well up, and cause me to start feeling almost exactly what the other person was going through at any given time. My mom called it a gift. I was less convinced. In most situations, I could lessen the intensity, but with Cerese, it was like raw nerves. I couldn’t even tell you how many times, she and I stayed up long into the night holding each other as we cried. What a way to bond right?
To make things even more troubling, Ceres’s mother had taken the death even harder than that. Slipping into a deep depression, she would barely do anything out side of her room. She did manage to keep her job, but once she was back home, back to her room she would retreat to stay for hours, not talking to a soul. This would be bad enough for a three person family, but for a nine person family, it was just too much.
And guess who was the one to pick up the slack. My dearest friend. Something that use to frustrate me to no end. Not because she was strong enough to keep the house running as it should, no I had nothing but admiration for her in that way. No, it was all due to the fact, that out of all the children, Cerese, who was smack dab in the middle, was doing almost everything. With a sister who was just barely an adult and two brothers, just under her in age, it was an out right outrage.
If the twins were upset. Who would be the one to get them settled down. Cerese. If the girls needed something for school, who was the one to make sure it happened. Cerese. Sometimes I wanted to slap Mrs. Cloudburst upside her head to get her snap out of it, but that was just mean.
I was best friends with Super Berry and that is all there was too it.
You know how they say, things happen for a reason right? Well, I am completely convinced that is true. Just about the time, Cerese started getting happy again, it was my turn for a little heartache. Sure, a break up isn’t as bad as losing a family member, but when it is your first real boyfriend of eight months, and he springs it on you, early Sugar Bowl Sunday morning in his front yard. It can be pretty heartbreaking and traumatic.
And if you’re me, you might just do something you regret later. Not one of my shining moments, I gotta say. Not sure if I really thought dropping to my knees and begging to the side of his house would actually get me anywhere, but it did however, manage me a phone call to my mom and 10 minutes later, she was there to collect me and take me home.
He must have made two calls that day, because when I arrived home. Cerese was there waiting for me. I felt so ashamed to be crying over something so trivial, after all that she had been through, but that was a notion she threw right out the window.
“I will always be here for you.”
I wanted to say it back, but I could barely breathe let alone speak. Somehow, I think she knew, because from that day on, we did just that. We were always there to lend an ear, or a shoulder, or a what ever the occasion called for. Best friends forever. The honest and true meaning of those words.
“So, tomorrow night my church is having an activity for all the teens. You should come.”
This was the third Saturday night activity she had tried to get me to, but for some reason, for the first time, it actually did sound fun.
“I don’t know. Maybe.” I said adjusting my pillow.
“It’s semi casual this time. It really will be a lot of fun. I promise. Besides you will be with me.”
“I don’t think they really like my kind there.”
“What? Why not?”
Oh yes, one last thing I should mention. Cerese is an incredibly devout Dulcian. Faithfully following the ways of the blessed Berry in all her glory, and then there was me. Not to say I wasn’t spiritual in my own way. The world worked in mysterious ways, no doubt about. I just had a hard time swallowing the fact, that there was an almighty being up there, controlling all that we do. Sorry, just not buying it.
This had never been a problem for Cerese and I. She knew where I stood and we left it at that. Going to her church and being around a bunch of others who were a lot less understanding to heathens was not my idea of fun.
“They won’t say a thing. I swear. We have non-members go all the time. Please! For me?”
“Alright. For you.”
Famous last words…