Every day, there is something new. And every day, they
surprise me, over and over again, when it happens, and I want to remember these
feelings–the joy and the shock, and the awe and the feeling that this couldn’t
be happening, and yet it is, and I am so lucky. Despite being conflicted,
despite all the complicated feelings this weight loss–this massive, rapid,
insane spiral of weight loss–I have to admit that these moments feel like
tiny miracles and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. I hope I never take
them for granted.
On the train, this morning. Crowded, because the
downtown-bound trains are always packed, a million people crowding the aisles,
half asleep and bumping into each other. I get on, tired, sad that I don’t have
a seat. But there’s one on the side, a three-seater, an empty seat in between
two other people. I don’t hesitate, at all. I don’t even think about it. I sit
down between them, and they do not sigh, or shift, or glance at me from the
corners of their eyes. They do not spring up and go stand somewhere else. They
sit, and I sit there between them, and there is room.
I work on the second floor of the library. I hated working
on the second floor. Through the turnstiles, and then instead of turning left,
every morning, to go up the stairs, I would find myself stopping in front of
the elevator. Hoping that none of my coworkers would walk by, and see me taking
the elevator a single flight, rather than hauling myself upstairs and having to
stop and sit on the bench, winded, before making my way over to the desk.
Embarrassing, to be so out of breath. When I first started work here, the librarian of my department took me on a walking tour of the whole building. The break room two floors
away, the theses two flights up. She drags me all over the building, and I am
new, and trying desperately to keep from gulping for air and humiliating
myself. I take the elevator by myself back up to the desk when she goes to
lunch. Today, I turned left, without thinking, and clattered up the stairs. I
paused, for a moment, at the landing, and knew I could keep going.
The bus doesn’t come. The bus never comes. I hate the bus.
Hate, hate, hate you, stupid bus. I am only taking it two stops, but it is
another one of those goddamn hills. I am late, and tired of being late. I say
fuck you, bus, and I start walking. I make it all the way to the top of the
hill before the bus comes, and I give it the finger as it roars by, and I feel
At the nail salon, where I go because I am so fancy, I
realize that I am not so fancy, because I have not been for so long. My nails
are ragged and sad. My manicurist comes up, and sits down. She is Linh, and I
recognize her–she’s done my nails so many times, back when I had money that did
not go to hospital bills. I greet her enthusiastically, and she smiles vaguely
at me. I ask her about her husband and kid, and she looks at me strangely. She
switches hands, and I push up my sleeve. "Oh!" she says. She
recognizes my tattoo. She looks back up at me. "Oh my God," she says,
dropping her clippers. "You are so skinny! I don’t recognize you!"
Thank you, I say, and I am blushing. "So beautiful," she says.
"Very nice." And that is how it feels.
I am curled up on my chair at work. Someone from another
department drops by, wants to look at something on my computer. I start to get
up, but she says "Shove over," and I do. It’s a snug fit, and we laugh–but we’re
both sitting in this chair that used to only fit me, and I don’t want her to
get up, because it is so tangible, and so real and so true.
"What size?" the woman at the merchandise table
says. "Extra large," I reply. "For you, honey? You’ll swim. Try a medium."
It was a calamity, every time it happened–in the morning, on
the way to work, the bus would fly by my stop, and down the hill, and I would
cringe, because that would mean I was going to be so so late. I couldn’t walk
up the hill, back to campus. It was steep, and it hurt, and I could not
breathe, not for a frightening number of minutes afterward. I dreaded it. So I
would stand at the corner, and wait for the bus, and hope that no one would
notice that I was so sad, I was only taking it a single stop. This morning, the
bus stops at the bottom of the hill, and there is a sudden urge to keep taking
it, down the street, down the next hill, clear out to
And I will walk all the way back, my arms swinging and never losing my breath
at all, not once. I climb off the bus, at the bottom of the hill, because it is
almost time for work. I charge up the hill, race up the driveway to campus, and
do a little jig by the front door. I still have enough air in my lungs to laugh
Guy is sleeping on the futon–on his side, the cat on his
hip–when I come home. I drop my bag and my coat, and kick off my shoes, and
crawl in next to him. I stretch out, my back against his chest, hips to hips,
and catch my toes between his feet. His arm comes around me, and I lay my head in
the curl of his elbow. We fit, side by side, on the futon, and we nap.