[ This is a story which, when first posted anonymously to the Dimension's chat board, attracted favorable comments for a week --- and then vanished from view. The author later acknowledged her role, but then lost track of the manuscript. It has been a pleasure to have had a role in retrieving and editing it in its final form -- The Observer]
All my life I have taken great solace in eating. I have found that, from a young age, I've had a great appreciation for the tastes of different foods, and I derive a great deal of pleasure from both the tasting and the feeling of being wonderfully full.
If I had had an easy life, I'm sure I would have been a 500+ pound woman right now. But, unfortunately, my father died when I was young and my mother worked hard to make ends meet. I helped in any way I could -- cleaning and doing household chores, and, once I was old enough, working after school and on the weekends. I was also a diligent student and often worked well into the wee hours of the morning to maintain my 4.0 average. I rarely had the opportunity then to indulge in my favorite pastime... enjoying good food.
My hard work paid off -- I received a scholarship to one of the best colleges in the country. My scholarship included room and board for my freshman year. Now I was really even busier than I had been in high school because I still had a part-time job. Also the workload was, of course, quite a bit greater than it had been. Still, I really took advantage of the university's cafeterias. My "freshman 15" was a "freshman 50" -- but I had never been happier.
Some weeks I rarely had the time to go back for seconds (or thirds or...), but even then I made sure I enjoyed a solid three meals a day and never, never missed dessert. And of course there was always time to nibble here and there. Besides the financial burden of having to buy some new clothes, I was surprised, as the year rolled by, at how truly comfortable I felt with my extra weight.
But alas, when freshman year ended, so too did the gratis room and board. Once I moved off-campus and had to pay my own way (my tuition was still covered, thank God!), my mealtimes pared down to one a day, and my weight, too, slowly began to pare down. By the time I graduated, three years later, I was down to the lowest weight I could remember being at.
Two more years spent working my way through graduate school, and at last I had my MBA, as well as a plum job in marketing/sales at one of the hottest high- tech companies. At 5'4" I was barely 100 pounds.
I loved, and I really mean loved, my new job, my new company, my new life. Compared to the lifestyle I had led up until then, I felt like I had a huge amount of free time... I could easily work 60 hour weeks and still have most of my evenings and weekends free! I rented a nice apartment (no more roommates!) and filled the refrigerator. It took some time, but with practice I was able to once again enjoy three meals a day.
One of the more pleasant surprises I discovered was just how well a successful company will treat their employees. Food abounded at my company. I was giddy with delight when I realized the amount of wining and dining I was expected to do with customers. My eyes would bulge when I would see the leftover gourmet lunches that would appear in the kitchen areas after meetings -- at least a couple of times a week... I was in heaven!
Slowly but steadily, my waistline expanded. It was easy to keep myself satiated. Frankly, I couldn't believe that all the folks at work weren't growing fatter (as a matter of fact, quite a few were, as I came to realize with distinct pleasure! But not as many as I would have thought). After six months, I was 5'4" and a softer, happier, 130 pounds. I enjoyed shopping for new clothes -- I had plenty of money so finances were not an issue.
I also received a promotion! My new job involved travelling to meet with many of our most important customers -- and that was when I discovered the benefits... perils? of business travel. My first long (3 week) trip, I ate incessantly. Every morning I ordered a huge breakfast -- at least one omelette, an order of pancakes, waffles, or french toast (always drenched in butter and syrup), a basket of fresh baked danish, hash browns...
I usually lunched and suppered with customers and always had appetizer, main course, and dessert. The customers, when male, marvelled at a young woman with such a hearty appetite, and when female, usually gazed at my plates longingly over their salads (dressing on the side). At night I usually raided the hotel mini-bar, scarfing whatever delectables I could find... Toward the end of the trip I was bursting out of my clothes.
I came back from dinner one night and practically ripped my skirt off when I got in the hotel room to give my flesh room to expand. I laid on the bed, panting with the effort, and looked at my belly, stuffed with food, rising up toward the ceiling... and I began to stroke it with my fingertips, which slowly reached down further and further...
Until then I had thought I was frigid. Growing up, I never had any interest in sex. I had had only a couple of boyfriends -- remember, I had little time for anything other than work and school -- and well, sex, had left me feeling... not much of anything. It was pleasant enough, but not earthshaking, by any means. So when I found my fingers touching myself with more and more urgency until I finally exploded in sheer waves of delight and I realized what had prompted such feelings, well, my life all began to make sense.
I gained nearly 15 pounds that trip. And had to buy more clothes. Over the next year, I travelled, on average, 50% of the time. My work was paying off big, I got two big fat raises (sorry, couldn't resist!), and I was receiving accolades from customers and upper management. As my salary and kudos grew, so, too, did my body. Airline seats had been getting smaller and smaller.
Returning from one trip on which I had particularly indulged myself at fine restaurants, I found that the my belly and the tray on the seat back in front of me were competing for the same limited space. I literally could not put the tray down flat -- I now weighed over 200 pounds, and my stomach was in the way.
My first, natural, reaction was embarrassment -- I quickly put the tray up and hoped that no one had seen. But then practicality set in... how was I going to eat my airline meal (call me crazy, but I hate missing a free meal, even when it's airline food!) if I couldn't get my tray down? So I sucked my belly in as much as I could, put the tray down, then slowly exhaled, letting my belly creep out over the tray a bit.
Were people watching that? -- well too bad, I thought. In fact, the whole scene got me really turned on -- me being too fat to fit in the seat with the tray down and all... When the flight attendant brought the meal and I began to eat, reaching over my belly to get the food, I practically came I was so excited!
But after I got home, practicality set in once again. Travelling was part of my job. What would happen if (when!) I grew to fat to fit in the seats at all? With or without the tray down! Coincidentally, later that week, the VP of Sales called me into his office. He greeted me with a warm smile and motioned me to sit down in the wide (thank goodness) armchair in front of his desk. I was not sure what we were meeting about -- we had nothing scheduled.
He began to speak, but then stopped, looking a little... what? Embarrassed, maybe? He was looking in my eyes, but avoiding looking at my... body! All of a sudden, a wave of nervousness swept over me.
I began to fret.
Was the warm smile a fake to hide his real purpose? Sure, I had been doing a great job, but maybe they were mad about how fat I'd gotten... had I abused the per diem food compensation policy?
My mind went in a thousand different directions over the course of two seconds... and I just blurted out for him to just tell me what he had on his mind.
He grinned broadly... and warmly again!... when I said that. He seemed to find it easier to talk... and said that everyone was thrilled with my work, that I was invaluable to the company, that they wanted to keep me, and to keep me happy... So he had decided to make an exception to the corporate policy and let me fly first-class!
I was shocked -- and of course very happy!
It was my turn to stammer now, and thank him. He said he hoped I'd be travelling more comfortably now, obviously referring to my size... and the way he said it made me feel so at ease with him that I made a comment about how I'd way more than doubled my weight since starting with the company.
In retrospect, I must have sensed an "FA" quality about him, because that comment just opened him right up.
He said he was in total admiration of me... that he thought most people would look better with some extra weight on them and that this society and culture was crazy thinking that being skinny was a good thing...
As he was talking he saw me glance at the family pictures gracing the table behind his desk... two kids, petite, perky, *thin*, blonde wife... He nodded towards the picture of his wife -- I love Ally very much, but I realized early in our relationship that she had totally bought into society's dictation that people are supposed to be skinny. She works out all the time, eats like a rabbit...
Hesighed, and subconsciously rubbed his own trim waistline
"I work out too," he commented as though he had been reading my mind. "It just seems like the right thing to do, I guess; but I think about sometimes just letting go and eating what I want to..." He drifted off, then focused back on me -- "like you do!" he said. "You seem so comfortable with yourself. I really admire you."
We chatted a little more, and as I was leaving his office he said he hoped I would enjoy the roomier first-class seats... and that if they started becoming too small to come back and talk to him and he'd see what he could do (said with a wink and a very big grin on his part)...
That got me thinking... How fat would I be when (if?) I outgrew first-class seats? 350 pounds? 400 pounds? I tried to imagine being that fat and having my tremendous belly competing for space with the tray, my hips rolling over the arms of the first-class seat... and I got so turned on I had to go to the ladies room immediately and take care of my excitement....