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Old 10-27-2016, 07:49 PM   #10
Madeline Maple
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 32
Madeline Maple can now be the recipient of "two cans" jokesMadeline Maple can now be the recipient of "two cans" jokes
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CHAPTER 5
Stan
November 23, 2005

He had never flown before with Franny. Sure, they talked about seeing New York or L.A., but they never made it past the planning stage. Now they were on their way to the airport to spend Thanksgiving in Florida with Zoe and their mom. But Stan had no way of knowing what would happen. They bought a seat for Franny, but they didn't buy an extra seat for her hips. He knew it would be a tight fit. He just wasn't sure how tight.

Franny loved to tell the story of her last flight to Florida to visit her family. How she proudly proclaimed her need for a seat belt extender as soon as she boarded the plane. How she squeezed into her seat, much to the shock of the woman next to her. How she framed it as a victory against a fat phobic world made for people whom she referred to as "skinny minnies."

Stan knew to tread lightly with these matters. Sometimes Franny was willing, even eager to talk about accommodations for her size. Other times, however, she grew sullen and withdrawn.

As a result, Stan didn't call attention to the fact that the famed flight was three years and more than a few pounds ago. In fact, Stan knew Franny had recently passed the 350 pound mark because she made a passing comment about it the other day. So he guessed that she had gained at least 70 pounds since her last flight, and a lot of that fat seemed to have found its way to Franny's hips.

The apartment they shared had a love seat in the living room, and Stan relished the opportunity to share it with Franny. Before sitting down next to her he'd push the side of her hip to make room for him to wedge himself next to her. He adored cuddling as her body spilled over his slender frame. But their love seat looked much wider than two airplane seats.

As they boarded the plane, Stan was bracing for the worst. He knew he could handle it, he just didn't want Franny to feel embarrassed. Just as she had done in her story, she asked for a seat belt extender as soon as she boarded the plane. They found their seats: a window and one in the middle.

Franny miraculously squeezed herself into the row and sat down on the window and middle seat. It immediately became clear that there was absolutely no room for Stan. In fact, he had to adjust the side of Franny's hip just to lower the armrest between the middle and aisle seats.

Just then a woman dressed in business attire appeared and started to sit down next to Franny. "Excuse me," Stan said, "but we need an extra seat. Would you mind waiting a minute while I speak to the flight attendant?"

As if on cue, the attendant appeared. She took one look at Franny and immediately assessed the situation. She guided the businesswoman to an empty seat, and Stan sat on the aisle.

After a moment the flight attendant returned, and, ignoring Franny she said to Stan, "Is West Palm Beach your home destination?"

"No, we live in Iowa," he replied.

Showing a polite smile she said, "We're very lucky to have had an empty seat, but I can't guarantee there will be one for your return trip." The attendant then waited a moment for Stan to acknowledge the meaning hidden behind her words, and when he nodded, she scurried off to tend to her duties.

Stan chanced a look at Franny who pretended to be engrossed in a Sky Mall catalog.

"I'll take care of it," he said quietly.

Franny gave a slight quick nod in response, and Stan made a mental note to get an extra seat for the return flight.

---

"I just can't believe it's been three years since I've seen my baby girl!" Franny's mom said for the third time during dinner.

Stan felt delighted to be accompanying Franny on a trip to see her family. When she announced her plan to fly to Florida for Thanksgiving, he hoped for an invitation, but he knew better than to ask. Whenever Stan tried to push the relationship to the next level, Franny would always put up a fight. Stan was learning that the best way to get closer to his girlfriend was to back off and let her set her own pace.

He listened as Zoe talked about her job as an assistant bank manager, and he couldn't help but notice that Franny's sister looked a few pounds heavier than when she visited Iowa summer before last. Stan guessed she was a little over two hundred pounds with her full breasts and roll of tummy fat that folded over her belt while sitting. But it's true what Franny once said: Zoe was the skinny one when compared to the rest of her family.

Stan thought back to earlier in the day when he saw Mrs. Steinfeld for the first time. She was seated on the couch from where she slowly rose in excitement as her daughters arrived. Franny's mom wore a large mumu that disguised the contours of her supersized body, but Stan could immediately tell where Franny got her hips.

The blue flower print garment flowed out and around the mother's lower half. When Franny and her mom hugged they were quite a sight with the two women's bountiful backsides pushed into the air, far from where their arms tried in vain to wrap around each other.

Franny once told Stan that her mom had always been close to 400 pounds, and he guessed that she now weighed at least that and probably a bit more.

Stan pretended to eat by pushing his macaroni and cheese around on his plate while Franny reached for her third helping. Zoe and her mom shared a knowing look in response. It was clear to Stan that Franny was determined to eat as much as possible to annoy her family. Zoe and her mom, on the other hand, seemed to be playing their part by silently judging.

Finally reaching for a second helping herself, Mrs. Steinfeld returned to the topic of how long it had been since she saw Franny.

"I know you graduated a few years ago, my dear, but...well, you know...plane travel is quite expensive for me...with my body type." Mrs. Steinfeld trailed off as if feeling ashamed. Stan immediately realized that she referred to her own need to buy two airplane seats, not knowing that her daughter just discovered she had grown to the point where she had a similar need.

Stan saw Franny's face flush, but he could tell that she would never talk about her embarrassing flight. Obviously these women were used to ignoring such feelings rather than sharing them.

"The important thing is that we're all together now," offered Zoe in an obvious ploy to change the topic.

"So Franny..." Mrs. Steinfeld began cautiously, "last time we talked you mentioned plans to return to your writing and apply for grad school?"

Stan felt his muscles tense. He knew this was a sore subject, and he immediately feared that Franny would get upset. Taking a sip of water, he glanced at his girlfriend who looked to be trying to calm herself before responding.

"That's right, mom," Franny finally said. Then she surprised Stan by reaching across the table and taking his hand. "I'm lucky to have Stanley here to help me focus on what's most important."

Stan didn't know what to say he was so flabbergasted. He had been trying to keep her focused on her writing, but she was always looking for reasons to avoid it. He always feared he was just bothering her but maybe that wasn't always the case.

"That's wonderful, dear," said Mrs. Steinfeld. "It's good to keep focused on your future."

Franny looked spiteful and said, "What does that even mean, mom?"

"What she means is that it's good to have goals," Zoe interjected. "I mean, you don't want to work at a bakery your whole life."

"And what's wrong with working at a bakery?" Franny said challengingly.

Stan tried his best to stay out of the fight, again pushing mac and cheese around on his plate. He listened as Franny complained about feeling judged while her mom and sister judged her for feeling angry. Needless to say Stan was more than a little uncomfortable.

Eventually a truce was declared and it was time for dessert. Mrs. Steinfeld brought out strawberries and whipped cream with pound cake. Franny wrinkled her nose when she noticed the pound cake was low fat. They all ate their fair share while Mrs. Steinfeld went on and on about how good it felt to be eating a "healthy" dessert. Meanwhile Stan saw that Franny and her mom ate spoonful after spoonful, each bite loaded with whipped cream.

---

Later that night, Stan saw Franny inspecting a wall of framed black and white photographs. He joined her and silently observed the images for a while before speaking. "These are your family members?"

"Yeah," she confirmed, "at least I think so. I only know who some of these people are."

Stan pointed to a chubby little girl in a 50s style frock smiling next to a slide. "Is that your mom?"

"You guessed it." Franny paused and scratched her chin. "She looks so happy in that picture that I barely recognize her."

Stan examined the wall further until a small square photo near the bottom caught his immediate attention. He leaned in for a closer look.

Sitting on a bed was an immense woman whose bare legs flowed with folds of fat. Either the bed was small or the woman was huge since her body spilled close to the edges. Stan saw that her large legs hugged a heavy belly distending onto the bed in front of her. She was smiling broadly, and Stan thought she looked quite beautiful.

Looking even closer he noticed that the woman cradled a small baby on her belly. The child looked impossibly small compared to the mammoth woman.

"I knew that one would grab your attention," said Franny through a smile.

Feeling a little sheepish, Stan asked, "Who's that?"

"It's my great grandma. And that little baby is my mom." Franny leaned in to inspect the photo with Stan. "My mom rarely talks about her grandma, but I know they were very close. They even lived in the same house while my mom was growing up."

Stan tried to see if the baby looked like Franny's mom, but the photo was too small to tell.

"When I was a kid, I used to look at that picture and feel sorry for her because she was so fat." Franny spoke in a hushed tone. Zoe and her mom and gone to sleep and the house was silent. "My sister and I would wonder about what she ate and how much she ate to get so big."

Stan took another look at the woman's body. At that size it's rather hard to guess a person's weight. But he figured she was at least 700 pounds and maybe even more like 800.

"You know what?" Franny asked as she turned to Stan. "We never ever talked about my great grandma like she was a human being. We never saw her as a person, we only saw her as fat."

Franny turned her attention back to the photo. "But I look at her now, and I see a happy, confidant woman who's proud as hell over her new granddaughter."

Not wanting to interrupt Franny's thoughts, Stan stood silently looking at the photo. After a few moments passed, he spoke, "You have your great grandmother's eyes."

Franny, without taking her eyes off the picture, replied, "That's exactly what my mother always used to say."
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