I Hope You Never Get In Shape and Leave Me

There is a health craze sweeping the nation. Moms are waking up early and hopping on treadmills. Dads are skipping lunch and “hitting the gym,” donning 20 year old short shorts and K-mart tanks and “working up a good sweat,” which they subsequently shower off in the public locker room, making sure to expose their flappity bits to every person who looks as though they don’t want to see flappity bits. And youngsters; youngsters are doing sports and running miles and impressing their potential dry-hump partners with calf muscles that nearly look impressive. But you—I thought you were different. I thought we’d get fat together—just the two of us. I mean, it was happening, our spontaneous plumping. Together we gained nearly forty pounds. And then you go ahead and you start running. Fucking running. You start eating meals that aren’t made entirely of dairy products, and you stick that fucking piece of baked asparagus in your mouth, chomping on it like you’re doing something really fucking great. Well guess what? It’s not great. We had a good thing going with our weight problem. It was something we had in common. I’m sick to my stomach just thinking about how we’ve grown apart, about how we’ve grown smaller as a couple.

It started when you decided you needed a treadmill. You mentioned something about “depression” and “never moving from the couch” and you talked about how the couch had a permanent indent where you were keeping your fat ass. You looked sad as I put those Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in my mouth. And you looked away as I dumped the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust into my mouth, pulling the bag taut to ensure that all dust made its way to my tongue, a tongue that longed for the days when we could just be us. You left the room as I licked my finger and rubbed it all over the bottom of the bag, pulling out a beautiful blood red index pointer that I promptly suckled upon. I think a single tear fell from a single eye of mine. I remember that sweet, sweet mystery flavor, and a pang of sadness somewhere under my left breast but above my first roll.

The day that treadmill showed up was the worst day of my life. I sat bawling on the floor as you blared Kanye’s Workout Plan and jogged with a devilish smirk on your face. You knew what you were doing. You were ending it, ending the fat times, the good times; you were ending the nightly amnesia caused by television and gummi bears and then maybe a box of Zours if we were still hungering for something sweet but zingy. You were ending the nights we spent complaining about how our mouths were raw from consuming too many sour candies. You were ending the belly aches caused by something we created—together—something we called a deep fried ranch-flavored cheese bomb. We perfected that recipe together. With that treadmill, you ended us.

You’re skinnier now. You lost the breasts that we named together, and the spare tire that I would walk behind and use as a shield during long, bitter cold winter strolls. And me? I’m sick to my stomach, and not because I ate fried chicken for breakfast again.

Jason Zabel