fat girl

 

This week I am participating in the Red Writing Hood at the Red Dress Club. It’s not my first time, but it has been quite a while. The prompt is write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious shot.

Before I turn you loose with my piece of haphazardly produced fiction, I have a small favor to ask. Please do not take offense to my language or story. Whether a person is small or large, they are beautiful. Inner-beauty is real beauty. I also believe obesity is a health epidemic, generally starting in childhood, and it should be treated as such. The first step to change is awareness, this piece is intended to bring awareness.

Fat Girl

When Etta was little, she believed that each sprinkle was individually placed in the perfect predetermined spot to create the most scrumptious doughnut in the world, equally delightful for the eye and the stomach.

Now, at ten years old, Etta knows this was a silly childhood fantasy. She knows the sprinkles are thrown onto the doughnut, no one caring where each one lands. No one except for Etta. She meticulously nibbles on one sprinkle at a time before inhaling the rest of the frosted pastry, two minutes of crumbling sweet bliss. Chewing the sprinkles on top, which takes at least five minutes, is the slowest she eats all day.

At least it was. Since her last doctor’s appointment, her mother won’t buy doughnuts for Etta.

“They have too much sugar, sweetie,” says her mother.

“But you eat them,” says Etta.

“No, I don’t. Not anymore.”

“Yesterday at Starbucks. With Aunt Jane, remember?”

“Oops. It was a special occasion.”

“It was?”

“How often do we get to see Aunt Jane?”

“Not very often.”

“Exactly. A special occasion.”

“Why didn’t I get a doughnut then?”

“It’s for your own good, baby. I’m sorry,” and because her mother looks as sad as a hungry puppy, Etta drops the subject. She knows the real reason anyway. Doughnuts make you fat and Etta is fat. The kids at school remind her as much as they can. Etta’s mom is fat too, but it’s okay for grown-ups to be fat. Etta can’t wait to be a grown-up, she will eat anything she wants. Even chocolate cake for breakfast.

Etta doesn’t mind being round, she’s always been this way. Her best friend, Audrey, is also fat. Their favorite activity is to scavenge coins from couches and drawers and even the bottom of fountains before walking to the candy store and filling blue striped plastic baggies with sugar every color of the rainbow, always spending the exact amount they bring. Not a penny more, not a penny less. They sit on the bench outside of the store and devour each sweet morsel like it was their first and last meal on earth. Nirvana in a bag.

After the doctor’s appointment, Etta’s mom signed her up for soccer, but she couldn’t keep up with the other girls, she was the tortoise in a pack of hares, and she always kicked the ball in the wrong direction. Everyone was whispering about her, she knew because they pointed. When it was over, Etta climbed into her mother’s car and let go of the pain squeezing her throat the same way her elastic shorts were pinching the rolls on her belly. She was too hysterical to speak. Etta’s mother drove directly to McDonald’s to cheer up her daughter as much as herself. Over ice cream and french fries, Etta demanded her mother to promise she would never make her go back to soccer, and she promised right away, crossing her heart.

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18 thoughts on “fat girl

  1. This is such a sad story Lucille. Because that little girl, she was as innocent as a child at that age could be. Obesity needs to be treated as a epidemic to let go of the stigma that comes with it… Nicely written and it was successful because it conveyed what you intended it to.

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  2. This is so true. I know your story is fiction, but it is echoed in the realities of so many kids these days. I could relate wonderfully with Etta, and your writing really flowed.

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  3. Wow. This is so sad – and so very, very true. I was not a fat child, but I have been a fat adult for a very long time. And those crazy mixed messages from my mom are a very large part of that whole process. It’s a painful place and your rendition clearly showed that. Thank you.

    The last 3 sentences read a little awkwardly to my eye – the rest of it is just terrific.
    “She was too hysteric to speak. Etta’s mother drove directly to McDonald’s to cheer up her daughter as much as herself. Over ice cream and french fries, Etta demanded her mother to promise she would never make her go back to soccer, and she promised right away, crossing her heart.”
    Part of it is grammatical – hystericAL rather than hysteric, demanded her mother promise rather than TO promise. And part of it is the little bit of confusion rendered by ‘to cheer up her daughter as much as herself…’ Maybe it would be easier and cleaner to just say, “Etta’s mother drove directly to McDonald’s to cheer them both up.” Even though you’re never supposed to end a sentence with a preposition, somehow that’s clearer – to me at least.
    These suggestions are made in the spirit of the request of the blog owners to offer critique in our comments. It’s tough to do that with such a good story!

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    1. Thank you, Diana. I really appreciate your comment. I agree that the last sentences are not ideal. I made several changes (clearly not very carefully, hence the typo), but never reached an ending with which I was too satisfied. No more time or energy to figure it out. Such is life! I’m glad you enjoyed 🙂

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  4. I really liked this. Poor Etta, and I love how she busted her mom for the “special occasion” donut when clearly the mother has some major issues. And how Etta can’t wait to be a grownup to eat whatever she wants.

    One typo: “She was too hysteric to speak.” Should be hysterical.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Cheryl. I tweaked the last few sentences several times, hence the typo. And I never even found the perfect ending! Maybe because it’s not supposed to end yet…

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  5. I have missed you. This is a great story to come back and link up on. It kind of gives me an eye opener to how my 10 yr old child might feel and the conflicted messages I might be sending her.

    I felt like I was cut off though and the story needed an ending. This read like the beginning of something bigger to me. I hope that it is because I would like to see more of Etta and her mother.

    Welcome back!

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    1. Thanks Stephanie! It feels very nice to be missed by someone 🙂 I would have kept going, but I didn’t want to lose readers…not to mention the word limit for the red writing hood…and my limited time! Perhaps I should turn this blog into a longer short story. Or even a novel! Thanks again for your feedback.

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  6. I think you are right to point out the double standard. All too often we as parents are preaching but not practicing! This story is so relevant. North Americans are eating too much. I find myself sometimes doing it with my three year old – do this and I’ll give you a treat. What I’m teaching is that the treat is coveted.

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  7. You have a way with words. Great story. I think you wrote this perfectly. You could really imagine the characters especially Etta. I love how she and Audrey would go digging for coins. I used to do that too! But I was also very involved with gymnastics. I think Etta’s Mama should have pushed her to continue soccer but I totally understand why she let’s her quit. I don’t know what I would do if that were my kid. Anyway, you did a wonderful job with this. 🙂

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