SSBBW, Feeding, Imagery, ~XWG – A woman runs into trouble by eating some exotic truffles. TROUBLE WITH TRUFFLES By Madeline Maple A short story in 6 chapters and an epilogue. CHAPTER 1 “I thought it was our turn to pick the restaurant?” Ester said to her husband. “I know, I know,” Harry replied as he kept his eyes on the road ahead. “That’s why I suggested we try that new pizza place over in Port Moody.” “Well then why are we going back to that same bar and grill? It’s a bit gauche, don’t you think? What’s it called? William’s Bar and Grill?” “It’s called Wilson’s Bar and Grill,” Harry corrected, “and I’m not quite sure why we don’t try another restaurant. Maybe Julie and Jack really like the food there? Maybe Jack wants another go at beating me at pool? I don’t really know. All I can say is that when I suggested the pizza place Jack acted a bit uncomfortable and finally asked if we could go back to Wilson’s. I didn’t really want to make an issue of it, so I agreed.” Ester and Harry drove in silence for a minute or two, until Ester said, “Hmmmm.” “What?” asked Harry. “I wonder if there’s something about that restaurant that makes it easier for Julie?” “How’s that?” “Well,” Ester responded, “they don’t have booths and instead have those armless metal chairs. And they have wide aisles and it’s never too crowded so you don’t have to stand around and wait for a table.” “Yeah, maybe so,” said Harry not wanting to speculate. Ester, however, was in the mood for guessing. “Just think about it. There’s no way Julie could fit into a booth. Nor could she fit into any normal sized chair, and a wooden chair might collapse under her weight. And you’ve seen how out of breath she gets. There’s no way she could stand around for thirty minutes waiting for a table. Didn’t you notice that she sat down on the couch at the department holiday party and didn’t get up the entire time? She probably needs to be careful about where she goes out to eat.” “C’mon, Ester, let’s show some respect. I’m sure Julie wouldn’t like us talking about her size like this.” “I AM being respectful, Harry,” sounding rather indignant. “I’m not judging. At least I’m not judging her negatively. I’m just curious, that’s all. How much do you think she weighs? She’s gotta weigh at least 400 pounds, right? She might even be closer to 500? But then again she’s kinda short. Maybe she’s closer to 400. But she’s at least 400 pounds. Probably more given that belly she lugs around, even with being a bit short.” “Uh, yeah, something like that” said Harry still not wanting to take the bait. “Now c’mon, Harry,” said Ester starting to get a little angry. “Don’t act so naive. I know your taste in women, and I saw you taking a second, third, and even a fourth glance at Julie when you knew she wasn’t looking. I know she at least turns you on a little. I mean, I know you prefer us girls with a pear shape but a person of her size with an apple body has to spark some interest.” “I only have eyes for you, my dear,” Harry said as he turned to his wife and smiled. He saw her with her long, curly brown hair with her large eyes and cute, dimpled cheeks. Even with her coat designed to brace against Vancouver’s fall winds, he could see the outline of her breasts and in the shadow of the car seat he could imagine her bountiful hips and thighs. “And even at 200 pounds you take my breath away.” “I’m 210 pounds, thank you very much,” said Ester a bit defensively. “I would love you no matter what you weighed, sweetie,” Harry said. “I might take you up on that…sweetie,” Ester replied in a mocking tone, still feeling a bit annoyed at her husband for pretending that he wasn’t interested in talking about Julie’s immense size. As the couple turned into the parking lot for the restaurant, Ester couldn’t resist another opportunity to express her mild agitation, saying, “You three aren’t going to blabber on and on about some anthropology thing, are you? Sometimes it’s really annoying to be the only non-academic around. Oh, god, and especially when you just start bitching about your students.” “Alright, alright, Ester, you’ve registered your annoyance,” Harry replied with a hint of exasperation. Ester and Harry soon arrived at the restaurant and walked through the front doors only to be met by the subject of their previous conversation. Julie was seated in front of them on a stone bench in the restaurant’s foyer. She was certainly a very large woman. Julie had dark hair pulled back in a sensible bun with wisps of hair hanging down that framed her large second chin that seemed to engulf the entirety of her neck. Her dark eyes stood out amidst her chubby face with her small nose and mouth. She was wearing a long, black linen coat but beneath that layer it was still easy to see the general outline of her body. She sat with her legs spread wide to allow space for her pendulous belly which hung to her knees and pressed against the inside of her thighs. Her puffy arms were extended as far as they could go to allow for her hands to be folded at the top of her heavy stomach. As soon as Julie saw Ester and Harry her face lit up and she extended an arm to shake hands with them both. As she reached out it was obvious the copious amounts of fat that hung from her upper arm. She couldn’t lean forward very far because the bottom of her belly was pressed against the front of the stone bench. As a result, Ester had to lean forward to reach Julie’s hand. “Hey, how’s it going?” said Ester as the two women shook hands. Ester now felt a bit embarrassed for talking so explicitly about her new friend’s size. “I’m just fine,” replied Julie. “Jack was just parking the car.” And with that, Julie’s husband came through the door and there was a round of smiles and handshakes. “The party’s all here,” said Jack. “Harry, why don’t you and Ester go ahead and get a table. We’ll be right behind you.” “No problem,” answered Harry. And he and Ester started toward the hostess, but not before Ester noticed out of the corner of her eye that Jack was carefully helping Julie to her feet. Harry and Ester sat down at the table directed to them by the hostess. Ester again noted how much space there was between tables and even a person as big as Julie wouldn’t brush against people’s chairs as she walked by. Now Ester was convinced that Julie and Jack picked the restaurant to accommodate Julie’s size. She looked around and noticed a few other supersized people. The hostess, for example, was easily 300 pounds or more. She noticed one of the waitresses who was probably closer to Julie’s size. Ester tried not to stare as Julie and Jack made their way to the table. Julie no longer wore her black coat, and instead she was clad in a sensible brown cotton pullover with a long black skirt that must have been pulled up over her hanging stomach. She took her time walking, slowly shifting her weight from one foot to the other, and it looked like it was a bit of challenge to push her belly along which still hung down and probably rested somewhat on her thighs even while she walked. It was quite a contrast between the two members of the couple. Julie simply dwarfed her husband in girth, although Jack was about a foot taller than Julie. Jack was quite thin, dressed in a dumpy blue sports coat. His thick brown beard and rumpled hair set him on track to age into the classic ‘absent minded professor’ look. Ester thought Julie and Jack made a cute couple. Ester then turned to look at her husband. In that moment she felt envy for how men just age to become more and more handsome. Harry wore that same argyle wool sweater that he almost always wears, and although Ester often gave him a hard time for having boring fashion, she secretly loved that argyle sweater. She looked at Harry’s kind blue eyes and strong chin. Ester loved his long face with long blonde hair and slight build. By this time, Julie and Jack had arrived at the table. Both Ester and Harry tried not to be too obvious in looking at how Jack had to help Julie ease her way into her chair. Jack tried to play it off that he was just being gentlemanly and pulling out the chair for his wife, but it was clear that Julie kept her arm against her husband for support. Once everyone were seated the two couples engaged in lively conversation, and Ester was having a wonderful time, aided by a couple of glasses of wine and a delicious Caesar salad with a juicy burger and a plate of fries. After dinner, Harry and Jack were about to go to the adjacent bar to play pool, but before they left, they checked in with their wives. “Is there anything we can get for you lovely ladies?” asked Harry. “Yeah, are you two all set?” added Jack. “Will you send the waitress over here? I want to order some dessert,” Ester answered. “Sure thing,” replied Harry, and the two men left for the bar. Ester turned to Julie and said, “It’s great having these skinny men dote on us big girls, huh?” “Uh, sure,” responded Julie. After a bit the waitress returned. Just like the hostess, the waitress was more than a bit plump, although she wasn’t quite as big as the other waitress Ester noticed previously. Ester was starting to like this place. “What can I get for you gals?” “I’ll have Wilson’s Cheesecake,” said Ester. “I’ll just have more decaf coffee,” Julie responded. “You sure you don’t want anything? The chocolate cake sounds amazing.” “No,” said Julie turning to the waitress. “Just the coffee, please.” With that the waitress grabbed the dessert menus and left, leaving the two women to chat. After a while, Ester’s order of Wilson’s Cheesecake arrived. It was a huge slab of dessert that must have been at least one-third of a whole pie, with a moist crust and loads of whipped cream on top. “Oh, man, this looks amazing,” Ester said. She brought a forkful to her lips, and she gave a big smile as her eyes brightened. “You’ve got to taste this,” handing her fork to Julie. Julie didn’t grab the fork. Instead she leaned back a bit and looked right at Ester, saying, “Listen, Ester. There’s something I need to talk to you about.” “Okaaaaay.” Ester responded slowly, taking back the fork and then diving into the cheesecake with a passion. “I like you,” continued Julie. “And we’re becoming friends, so I want to be open and honest with you.” “I like you, too,” Ester muttered through a mouthful of cheesecake. “But I need you to understand something about me,” Julie said. “I don’t really like it when you do things like push me to eat dessert. I know you are just being friendly. And I know you think we share some kind of fat women solidarity. But in all honesty, you have no idea what I go through. What are you? 200 pounds?” Ester didn’t even respond, feeling rather hurt in the moment. Julie continued, “Well…I know you are pleasingly plump, and compared to what’s considered an ‘average’ weight, most people consider you to be a fat woman. But girl…you are nowhere near my size.” Julie paused to be emphatic, and then continued, “Now I wasn’t always this large. I was never thin, but I wasn’t always supersized. When I was in college I was about your size, in fact. I love to eat, so I would eat the occasional potato chip or cheesecake, and I was no worse for wear. But after I had my kids, something changed with my metabolism. I used to splurge a little here and there, but quite quickly I learned that I needed to be very careful about what I ate. I started to gain a lot of weight very quickly when I was in grad school. I tried to cut back. I would eat what most people would consider a normal diet, but I would still gain weight. That’s when I met Jack. He helped me learn to love myself no matter what my size. But it was still hard getting so big. Now I’ve learned how to live as a supersized woman. I’m sure most people think I’m constantly binging on junk food to be so fat, but it’s not true. In fact, I eat very little, and all that does is to maintain my current weight.” “Wow,” replied Ester, slouching a bit in her chair, already finished with her cheesecake. “I had no idea.” “I know you didn’t, and I hope this doesn’t come across as mean,” urged Julie. “It’s just that I want you to understand why I don’t do things like share a dessert with you. And actually I like the fact that you made the offer. I feel comfortable with you. Sometimes I get the impression that people who aren’t supersized act weird around me, as if being fat is a disease or something. But I don’t feel that way with you.” “Well thanks, Julie. I appreciate that.” At that moment, the two men returned from the bar. “Well, that’s about as much of a beating as I can stand for one night,” said Harry. “You’re getting better,” said Jack with encouragement. “So what were you two talking about?” Jack asked as the two men took their seats. “I was just telling Ester some of the trials and tribulations of a woman with an excruciatingly slow metabolism,” responded Julie. “Ah, yes.” Jack said. “And speaking of metabolisms, did either of you hear the presentation about truffle eating Sherpas at the National Anthropology Conference last spring?” “Oh, I love truffles,” Ester quickly interjected, hoping to avoid entering into a lengthy and boring conversation about academics. “Especially the raspberry truffles they sell at Whole Foods.” “Actually we’re talking about the truffles that are fungi. They are similar to mushrooms in that they reproduce via spores, and in many haute cuisines they are a delicacy.” “Oh, great,” Ester thought to herself. “Here we go.” Jack continued, “So I heard someone present a paper about a certain tribe of Sherpa. You know the Sherpa, the people who serve as guides for those who climb the Himalayas?” Harry and Julie nodded. “Well this paper was talking about a tribe, living in a particularly harsh region that eats a certain kind of truffle that is said to affect their metabolism. The researcher hypothesized that they eat the truffles as a ritual to slow their metabolism so that their bodies are more efficient in processing calories, making them better able to handle difficult mountain climbs. I guess that if they make better use of calories, they would have to take less food with them when they climb,” finished Jack. “Fascinating,” said Julie. “Yes, quite interesting,” Harry added. “So wait,” said Ester, now perking up and feeling a bit interested in the topic. “Are you telling me that these…Sherpa…eat a truffle that slows down their metabolism?” “Yes, that’s precisely what I’m saying,” Jack said. “Although it’s not clear to what extent the effect is biological and to what extent is embedded in the cultural practices of their…” Jack continued, but Ester stopped listening to the academic babble. Instead she sat back, sipping her coffee, feeling content with a belly full of cheesecake, wine, burger, fries, and salad. She kept thinking about what Julie confided in her, and meanwhile thoughts of these exotic truffles kept popping into her mind.