by Arbitrary Point
(This is a sort of parody of all the typical WG storylines, or is it?)
Jamie Ciparelli was the most popular girl in our high school, and everyone looked up to her. All the boys sweated nervously and performed some awkward arhythmic dance when in her presence, and all the girls whispered cattily or unconsciously half-bowed. I stared with full-on abandon, because I just didn't care, and because I wasn't in awe of her.
But, she was the harbinger of every new fashion craze. Once, she wore a band-aid on her neck, which I perhaps accurately decided was there to cover up a hickey. The next day, at least fifteen girls who wanted to be just like her donned band-aids at the exact spot. This is how she was, and there was no escaping it. She was a small scale MTV. By the end of junior year, you almost had to get by her to get noticed.
Sure, she had long blonde hair. Sure, she had pouty lips that never expressed just what sort of juices were flowing inside her brain. Sure, her voice moved mountains and her chords alone were enough to resound through your body and give you blue balls. However, these didn't faze me. What kept my interest was that she was thin and had small breasts and big hips, and not this fact alone, no. She was not naturally thin; I don't think I ever saw her eat a bite as long as I'd known her.
I longed to see her get fat, though I knew her image was too gravely important for her to eat and drink more than she needed to survive or have anyone notice what a grave case of anorexia she had. Every time I passed her in the hallways, I imagined some hint of extra inches circling her arms, a slight double chin when she laughed a fake hello to someone whose name she probably forgot. Nope. Nothing.
In March of our junior year, I was amazed to find myself thrust into an unusually compromising bout of social dancing for one of my unfortunate age: a college party. Greg, an acquaintance of mine that somehow eked his way to being a semi-acquaintance of Jamie's, invited me. I don't know why I wanted to go. I didn't drink, and neither did Greg. Jamie didn't, even.
Well, she didn't until that night. In fact, for all the drink and debauchery implied by her and her cohorts' getup and demeanor, they abused no substance, simply because Jamie hadn't succumbed to peer pressure. And so it remained for a while, because of the chicken-and-egg conundrum. Seeing her down her first beer was a morbidly miraculous event. After ten of them, and her obligated rounds through she took a seat next to me and Greg, and talked to me like she knew me forever.
"You guys," she started out, speaking from the side of her mouth like the other was newly paralyzed with drink and ditziness, "you guys are so cool." I almost felt like harmlessly cutting myself somewhere on my body and letting the blood drip onto her hip-huggers. "You guys.. see.. guys see through all my shit, don't you?"
Not once in all my pining and fantasizing surrounding her did I ever imagine there would be manipulation under the facade, let alone that I'd be talking to her so easily. Well, the whole party thing had up until this time played out like a stupid dream, so nothing at this point was too terribly unexpected. I had more contempt and unrestrained lust for her than ever before. Perhaps these are the reasons why talking to her came so fluidly, in spite of my sobriety.
"Yeah, I do, at least." I said, not speaking for my perpetually smitten friend. The more words I spat, the easier it became to say them. "You've got all your little cronies wrapped around your little finger, don't you?" She took the first swig of her eleventh beer.
"Oh," she interjected unconcernedly, "definitely!" She was absentmindedly stroking the fabric of her halter top just above her breasts. "They'd contract STDs if I did. They'd jump off bridges, stop showering, get fat --"
"You would never get fat!" I assured her, getting way ahead of myself, caught in dialectical limbo between nervous yelps and shmoozing. I must have been sweating rainstorms.
"Why not?" she asked, and half-burped, pouting.
I sussed her out like it was my job, almost screaming above the din of idiotic college dolts, "Well, for one, you're way too conceited and image-troubled that you wouldn't gain an ounce!" Was I certain of this?
"It's not image I'm worried about." She adopted a fierce and calculated look in her eyes. "It's power." I couldn't help but believe her. Out of nowhere, one of her many manfriends, Ryan, popped up from behind her, reeking of Polo Sport and bourbon.
"Hey, babe!" He slathered her, visibly cocked, obviously uncaring. "What are you getting so angry about?" Any answer would do, but she felt she'd rub our inconsequentialities in with rubbing alcohol words.
"Oh, these guys wouldn't stop bothering me," she muttered, to his laughter. "Anyway, who cares? It's nothing! I'm drunk!" And for the rest of the night, she played moron, while Greg and I were forced to watch, until we got bored and went home. I was sure she'd forget all about her confession anyway.
News of her first drink(s) spread through the high school like wildfire. In fact, by the time I went to homeroom that Monday, people were cluing me in on "what happened." Maybe I was destined to remain an invisible blip on the radar of the pantheon of social politics, but I knew one thing for certain: nearly twenty cliquey girls were hammered at 7:30 in the morning that day.
I spotted Jamie at lunch, sitting alone. I pulled up a seat directly across from her and smiled, opening a can of soda. She was finishing up writing a note of some sort, and looked up at me, half-smiling, half bewildered. "How have you been?" she asked, and combed her hair from her face with both index fingers.
She looked especially clean today. "Well," I sputtered, "I've been okay, I suppose." I imagined chartering a beat-up plane to the Swiss Alps, where her people power would be rendered useless, where I could feed her the richest chocolates, where she would be 220 pounds of eagerness.
"That's good," she said, and, tiring of the small talk, got up, took out her wallet from her purse, and, muttering, "I'm going to go get some lunch," went to the back of the buffet line. And I watched her. I watched her like a bashful boy waits for his disciplining parents to come home. She ate exactly like she should have: like a woman starved for years.
I sat and watched her devour three cheeseburgers, lovingly caressing her taut stomach all the while, and as she reached for her fourth, only then did I shift my attention away from my living, breathing fantasy and towards the now packed table, filled to the brim with Kate Moss lookalikes, all chowing down on cheap pound cakes and pizza. I tell you, it was unbelievable.
Perhaps the most startling aspect was that no one thought anything of it. I always thought that football players were perpetually concerned about fitness and the importance of not overeating, and that this misogynistic concept played itself out on their girlies. It couldn't be farther from the truth. As long as popularity was secured, it didn't matter if their significant others had Medusa's tresses, they'd fake-love them forever. And this clique worked a lot like communism: they held each other's notoriety in their compacts. The jocks and heads surrounded the table like a smoke ring of frivolous influence, talking it up with girls whose mouths were suddenly stuffed.
Vanessa Colletti, who was the sort of sleek, black-leathered girl you'd confuse for Posh Spice, swapped her usual tofurkey and water for a ham and cheese sandwich and a plate of fries and a Coke and a hot fudge sundae! Rachael Norris, who traded a tomboy image for plastic and lipstick towards winter break Freshman year, gorged on five slices of pizza. Autumn Engels, who always idolized Madonna and somehow juggled looking like both Jamie and Christina Aguilera, shared a dozen Boston creme doughnuts with her twin Summer, and myself. For once, everyone shut their mouths.
They were eating!
It was obvious that Jamie was fucking with me. At least, I thought it was. The days progressed, and by Friday of that week, it was obvious that even if she was fucking with me, she and her cohorts seemed like they were in a junk-food eating contest, with Jamie having the heir-apparent one-up on everyone else. Of course, my fantasies were maybe overactive. It would be a surprise if, at this time, any of them gained more than three pounds. They looked like bloated Calvin Klein models.
I was poised to spend that weekend alone with my imagination, but, like unbelievable clockwork, Jamie called me a little after 3:00 in the afternoon. I saw her name on the caller ID and I actually got nervous.
"Hello?" I asked, feigning unknowing.
"Hey, kiddo," she started out, again, like she knew me forever, "You didn't think I'd actually do it, did you?" I could hear her smiling. She proceeded, with her mouth audibly full, "Do you want to come over my house for dinner?" Before I could respond to this unfathomably amazing question, she followed it up with, "I'll pick you up in ten minutes. Bye!" I couldn't even let out a contented sigh. How did she know that I even wanted to go?
Regardless, I got into her Dad's BMW without a care in the world. No one else was in the car, and it smelled like plastic strawberries. She had a red skirt on, and a black tank-top that was riding ever-so-snugly above her…belly? Oh, my god! Her stomach was now officially a little belly! Sure, it wasn't a potbelly or a big belly, but what a little belly it was! She burped as she maneuvered the clutch with one hand and held onto a half-eaten bacon cheeseburger with the other.
"Why are you eating, I thought we were having dinner at your house?" I asked like a schoolboy, even though I knew full well the answer. She moaned sweet food orgasm before responding.
“I don't know,” she began coyly, “I guess I've just had an overactive appetite lately.” Her giggle bounced back and forth like a punching bag, her laughter set to annoy. I didn't take the bait, though. I was way too busy enjoying myself.
“What do you intend to prove by getting fat?” I asked, cutting to the chase.
She took two bites from her burger and said, “I intend to prove, in broad strokes, what I've been proving since junior high in subtle nuances.” I gave her two weeks before she outgrew the ensemble she had on. Her little belly trembled as she spoke. Gone was the tight resemblance to any other teenybopper. There was a soft and delicate shell of fat all over her body. Before I could really become preoccupied with it, I was interrupted by her swan song, a block away from her house.
“I need you to pretend that we go out,” she said, crumpling up her fast food wrappers and chucking them out the window.
“Why?” I asked. I'd pretend anything at this point. I was thrust into a tea party world.
“Well,” she hesitated, “My parents don't approve of the fact that I haven't had a steady boyfriend since, well, never. Just say that you've been going out with me ever since the first football game in September. Uh..” She was thinking hard and deep. “We met at Vanessa's birthday party two days after school started.” Before I could even fathom or register what was happening, her little rich car pulled into her driveway.
Her father and mother, congenial as Jamie never was until lately, invited me in. Dad extended his hand, saying, “So this is the young beau we've heard so much about.”
I skipped the nervous reverie and asked him, “Exactly what stuff have you heard about?” My facial intonations implied nothing more than doting jokes.
Her mother answered in faux-harsh tow, “Nothing much!” She, of course, immediately giggled. I then knew where Jamie's insouciant giggle had come from. “Only that you're one of the sweetest, brightest, and funniest boys she's ever met!” I actually blushed, and wished that what my fake girlfriend had told her parents was the truth. “Come, have a seat!”
Chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, ambrosia salad, sweet potatoes, biscuits were lined up on the table in separate trays. Everything smelled like a country store. I wasn't hungry. Jamie was the first one sitting, and she had already eaten two bites of chicken when I finally sat down, after her parents. “Mom,” she proclaimed, “you are the best cook in the world!” She made it so Mom and Dad believed she was the perfect girl next door. It was amazing to watch.
Her mom dazed almost adoringly at me. “So, what do you think of our girl's growing appetite?” How was I supposed to respond?
“Well,” I puttered and engaged the question with servility, “It's long overdue if you ask me. A girl can die with the amount of food she'd been eating. But I'll let her do whatever her heart desires." I was sucking up to imaginary parents, and acting like I was eating with the love of my life's family for the first time, and so it continued like this. Her mom actually said midmeal, "Such a nice boy," and smiled, gazing adorably into my flabbergasted eyes.
I only had to impress them for a half hour more, during which Jamie said next to nothing and ate like a princess; she had four courses, and I was astounded that her parents did not address this matter whatsoever. Afterwards, we had chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. I had half a bowl and Jamie had two and a half. I felt like I was cheating in life somehow, because, sure, I was really nice to those around me since forever, but all I was doing besides that was keeping to myself, dropping the needle on records, and masturbating. Now, here I was, enjoying the stuff of real fantasy.
After the procession of parental goodbyes, we went back into the car and I was prepping for some nasty and smug farewell from my faux girlfriend, but, no! She locked her hand inside of mine, and I felt my body rush with all sorts of rainbow and black and white tingles. She looked at me like she wanted to apologize for something. She looked away really fast and came back, weighing whatever options she had.
"Do you want to try this, for real?" She was almost tearing up. I felt all the previous years of horrible stories about just how wretched of a person she was ebb and then grow bigger. I was filled with hot excitement, because I wanted so badly to believe her.
"Yes," I began, "I would." I scanned my brain. "But how can I be sure you won't leave me in a week to laugh at me with your friends?" She looked stunned.
"You can't," she insisted, "but I want to make good with my life." She did the look-away-and-look-back thing again. "Can I admit something to you?" I desperately allowed her.
"I've been in love with you ever since the second grade." I immediately laughed, because this was a ridiculous concept. How could she be in love with me, she'd never even so much as spoken with me! I was about to jump out of the moving car.
"I know it seems unbelievable, but it's true. You sat in front of me in Miss Janson's class, and I remember thinking, 'This boy is so nice and funny.' I had such a crush on you. You always gave me any snacks you had left, and let me cheat off of your spelling tests."
"That was you?!?" I was incredulous and a zillion clouds burst inside of my memories and the explosions were sweet and fluffy. She went on.
"But before I could muster any courage to really talk to you, my family moved to Michigan. It was horrible. Now, this is going sound creepy, but I couldn't get you out of my head." She looked into my eyes, and starting tearing up. "All this shit, all this..." I couldn't fathom what was pounding my ears. "This preening, this one-upping everyone else.." She buried her face into my shoulder. "I'm so sorry," she said, and I assured her it would be okay.
"I moved back here because my grandfather was getting sick and my parents wanted to be with him. I couldn't give two shits about anyone, because I began to see all people as hollow, things I could manipulate. I forgot about you. But then, I came here, I saw your name in the class list, and I almost fainted. I talked to Greg, and I found out how to get your attention, because--"
I butted in. "Because you knew I wouldn't talk to you unless you did something I'd notice?" I was almost hurt, but I was also in awe of how far she would go to get my attention. I felt really sorry for her, and I began to remember the little girl that I had a crush on, that I forgot. But, admittedly, I had not swooned as much as she had.
"Well, Mike, I can't be taken seriously being so nasty and hateful as I appear to be. Please, I want to at least give this a chance!" She was clutching my hand, prepared for death. I gave it a chance.
We went to Dairy Queen that Thursday, where she polished off three hot dogs and a super size sundae, and kissed me. We went to the beach the following week, where she complained about her growing breasts straining against her bikini top, and kissed me. We went to Lane Bryant a few weeks after that, where she bought some nice granny panties and a pair of size 12 khakis, and she fellated me in the bathroom. We went back there a couple of days ago to get a new pair, because she transformed her body again, into a size 18. I drove her home, all the while she was tugging at the crotch of my jeans, and we made sweet, passionate love in her bedroom. What a belly! And we said, "I love you" to each other in mad heat!
* * *
We had been going out for four months, spending almost every waking moment possible together, before I noticed what sort of knell Jamie and I had been ringing on the taut physiques of almost all the girls in our high school. Even the girls who supposedly didn't care about their image and hated the popular crew were gaining, perhaps unconsciously.
Vanessa was still wearing pleather, but her arms were now huge, and her ghetto booty made her appear very bottom-heavy in her tight black skirts. Autumn and Summer finally got the boob jobs they wanted, albeit natural ones as a result of Dunkin' Donuts and Haagen-Daaz; the package also included monumental double chins. Rachael Norris' fat was spread out all over the place, and her stomach was spilling out of her low-riding sandblasted blue jeans.
And Jamie was absolutely heaven. Decked out in a red silken tank that clung to her enormous breasts and dutifully showed off her love handles, and plaid pants that made her thighs and ass look at least twice as big as they already were (and her thighs were like wobbly tree trunks), she looked amazing. As she giggled, running towards my face to plant a wet one on my cheek, I noticed a blossoming second chin and began thinking about heaven.