louise-scan-copy

Louise

It’s 11:34 p.m. and I can’t sleep, although I’ve tried; although my eyes itch; although I’ve taken one of those ten-hour antihistamines.

I look down and see my fat, loose stomach.  I’m fifty and I’ve never been so fat. Fat and ugly.  My son Sam won’t let me put my bare foot on his lap because he is so repulsed by the corn on my foot.  I can tell from my sons’ faces that to their young eyes my body is hideous. Sam says my legs are like baloney with little spots of fat here and there.

I am discolored.  Out in the sun too  much.  Splotchy everywhere. Loose fat under my arms, on my thighs, and now this belly. 

I smell bad, too.  I am decaying at fifty.  I never smelled bad when I was young.  Now I have body odor.  I’m physically disgusting. I have to paint myself up.  I have to wear plenty of clothes.  I have to have a perfect haircut.  It’s a lot of work now to look good. It’s exhausting.  I can see why some women give it up, but giving up makes you invisible. No one takes you seriously anymore.

Perhaps that would be a relief.  Sexless, splotchy, crippled in one ankle, smelly, anxious, easily irritated.  Who would notice such a woman?  Who would love her?

Tom tells me a thousand times a day he loves me.  He kisses me, tells me I’m beautiful, says what a wonderful woman I am.  Says he is so lucky to have me–a hundred, a thousand times a day, he tells me; he shows me.

He weaves on the highway.  “You’re a terrible driver,” I say. 

“But you love me anyway,” he says.

And I do.

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