‘Sasha, you should use a saucer for dinner. No rice, no chicken, just have salad no salt.’
‘Well, can’t you see that you’re gaining weight?’
My mother removes the plate of Chicken, rice, roast-potatoes, and sweet corn from my hands. Places it on the kitchen counter. Then serves up one lettuce leaf, one slice of tomato, and two paper-thin slices of cucumber. No salt. She hands me back what she boastfully referrers to as Sunday roast.
‘There you go Sasha, eating in moderation will have you as slim and trim as me in no time.’
‘But I’m not fat.’
‘Sasha, darling normal women your age are a lot smaller. When I was your age twenty years ago, I always ensured that I ate healthily. None of these alcohol-fuelled, kebab filled weekends. Maybe you should sign up to that gym in town, its affordable and open twenty-four hours a day.’
‘Mother, you know that I don’t drink alcohol and I’m not keen on kebab.’
‘I’m sorry darling, so that wasn’t you on Facebook last night, with that misshapen girl outside Bill’s kebab shop? Hash-tag take-away selfie, wasn’t that the caption?’
‘I was holding Stephanie’s food; Lorna thought it would be funny to pose outside Bills.’
‘Well, Sasha, I’ve been telling you for months now. But if you want to continue eating yourself into an early grave, then go-ahead! I suppose I can arrange for a bigger plot to be created to accommodate you.’
I feel tears peering out at my mother. I’m hot. This kitchen is getting hotter, I need to get out of here. I place the meagre portion of salad on the kitchen counter. Watching my mother smiling. Perhaps content that her advice is supposedly penetrating its way to, my last remaining intelligent brain cell instructing me not to eat.
‘I’m not saying that you’re Fatso, from the movie Casper, Sasha. I just wonder if you’ve ever picked up a copy of Vogue. Don’t you even aspire to look better?’
I’m too angry to respond; I turn away and retreat upstairs to my bedroom.
You’re Fine if Refined
I close my door and lock it. I turn on my iPod docking system search for Mariah Carey, and press play on Cry Baby, singing alternate lyrics every-time. It’s becoming a ritual.
Late at night, like a little child wandering around, with my sweatpants on, in my black plastic bag…
I turn and size myself up to the floor-length oak-framed mirror, interesting gift from Mother. For a moment, I close my eyes and inhale. I see black. I picture an ideal Sasha; she looks like Beyoncé’s alter ego Sasha Fierce. Slim with sun-kissed skin, big bright eyes, long slender legs, tiny waist only twenty inches. Sasha Fierce is sexy, every man wants her, and every woman is compelled to compliment her. I open my eyes and exhale. I see my big brown, dull eyes, my curves minutely visible through my black sweat-pants.
‘But you’re an average weight? Are you sure? What is that hanging from your waistline? Maybe that’s puppy-fat? Yes, you’re a fat bitch, just like mother keeps telling you.’
Slowly I remove my fat hiding, black, protecting clothing, tossing them to the side of my mirror. Unclasping my bra, my eyes record a mental image of the imprints left behind. Years of denial weaving its way into my shoulders, underwire impressions over-lapping impressions upon both breasts. Finally, I remove my knickers, a very cosy size 18. Here I stand in my rarely ever seen form, crying at the Sasha staring back.
Mariah Carey continues to sing, oblivious to my imminent need for food in my life. I tip-toe and reach up, just above my stained oak wardrobe clutching onto Stanley. I resume my position facing myself. A clear shapely over-eater stares back, craving some of mother’s beautifully prepared Sunday roast. I close my eyes; inhale breathing in that succulent seductive scent of roast chicken. I see myself as Sasha Fierce. Exhale reopening them with Stanley clenched tightly within my right hand, I’m ready I can do this. Tensing my body, I examine my shameful exposed appearance from head to toe.
‘Go on Fatso, mimic Bernini, chisel yourself into a baroque sculpture then go and stand in the middle of Fontana Dei Quattro Fumi, and admire the world standing in awe at your beauty.’
At first, I don’t feel the initial kiss of the blade against my skin or the marriage between old flesh and Stanley. I feel excited at the exhilarating thought that in a short time I’ll be brand new. I carve the fat off better than Bill with his minuscule portions of kebab every Saturday night. Starting with my right thigh, eagerly tending to the left, I start singing along with Mariah, which makes it easier to ignore my pain.
Late at night like a little child, exploring life at home, in my refined form with stilettos on, walking around so tall…
I bring Stanley up to my face, his shimmer of afternoon sunshine glowing from the tip as a gift to my double chin. Highlighting imperfection and with thoughts of perfection in mind, I slice away my double chin, dice off my chubby-cheeks, and with ease scale back my meaty neck that holds all of this fat upright. I stare down as crimson oozes out of both thighs. I look at the pounds of fat now divorced from my body, at rest by my feet, pure satisfaction. I pinch the over-hang of my waist with my left hand, and edge round my excess swiftly with Stanley. ‘Late at night…’ Pain shoots through my lower abdomen. I glance at my fat-free reflection, but before I could complete my new wash-board mid-section, I collapse right over the heap of freshly trimmed wholesome kebab.
May Sasha Rest in Peace
There she is peacefully at rest…
‘Inhale Think of that long winding path at the end, you arrive at your personal peaceful place. Life is too short to live regretfully. Relax you’re safe there, no one can harm you, release negative chi skyward.’
‘…Three, two, and one Sasha exhale and rise.’
I open up my eyes, a house sparrow sings right over me. ‘Bow your head, and Inhale Sasha.’ I caress the grass that surrounds me. ‘Look up, and exhale Sasha.’ Taking my time, I sit up. Outside is so beautiful, Kibbles my neighbours’ kitten purrs up beside my feet, I feel his little heartbeat.
‘Thank you, you were great today Sasha. You’ll reach your target weight in no time. Shall we say Saturday at 8am?’
‘Yes, thanks, Mark.’
My new personal trainer Mark Lincoln compliments me further, places my diet plan for the week on the garden table, then leaves. For a while, I take in my surroundings, staring up at the sky, baby-blue with mild hints of cyan complimenting the life that lives beneath it. Life goes on with or without Sasha…
Fierce and Flammable
5 O’clock naturally, I wake up. The scent of Mothers bacon attempts to lure me down. But no, I don’t need that. I climb out of bed and open both windows. I admire the vixen and her cubs scanning the garden before venturing out further, in search of breakfast. A squirrel races across our washing-line, hurrying to retrieve a tiny morsel of dog food that it dropped seconds ago. I turn facing my oak bookcase, pulling out all the diet books; Janet Thompson, Think More Eat less; Kimberly Willis, The little book of diet help; Robert Ashton, The life plan. Gathering my over-priced collection of diet magazines too, ranging from Weight Watchers, Women’s Health, and Slimming World. (I have issues dating back to January 2012). Finally, from the very top of my almost junk-free bookcase, I remove a large container of acai-berry weight-loss pills. Seven purse-friendly boxes of Senokot tablets, and the thirteen takeaway menus, that I placed here so that my mother wouldn’t notice. I throw them all into my wash-basket. Picking up my remote I select repeat, play increasing the volume Cry-baby starts to soothe me once more. I grab my overused black Pauls Boutique shopper bag, and empty my wardrobe of everything that’s black, excessively loose, and surely anything that suggests I like to hide my curves. ‘On my tippy-toes, so that Mother won’t know that I’m delighted with my bootyful body.’ I smile, and toss the bag into the wash-basket, and head downstairs, outside into the garden. No sign of the vixen, her cubs are now silent. A wood pigeon perches on the plum tree, awaiting my next move.
I empty the contents of my wash-basket into the incinerator, pulling it down the path to a better position. I remove the box of matches that I grabbed on my way out. Setting alight eight years of stubborn fat, my history. Tears escape my eyes. I’m hot, so I remove my sweatpants, ill-fitting black sweater, and cosy Bridget Jones styled knickers throwing them into the flames. My vision is blurred drowning in relief; I sing in loving memory of the old Sasha Walking around alone, on my tippy-toes…nothing ever has to be perfect.
Here I stand for the world to see, I am Sasha.
It’s a warm Sunday afternoon in March. Mother has prepared roast lamb, roast potatoes and a selection of seasonal vegetables. Oh and gravy, I love gravy.
She then places two equal-sized plates on the kitchen counter, and serves up dinner; two slices of lamb; two small roast potatoes; two sticks of asparagus; three slices of carrot; and one large floret of broccoli.
‘May I have a bit more lamb please, Mother?’
‘Well, I suppose one more piece won’t do any harm.’
She begins to carve again. Slicing off the smallest piece of lamb, I’m guessing 2 inches long and 2 millimetres thick. Smiling, she places her generosity on my plate motioning towards the gravy-boat, she pours a faint drizzle over dinner. Then with a sarcastic remark, she says.
‘You’ve now got enough to feed a zoo.’
Closing that sentence with a little laugh, mother hands me my plate and picks hers up then heads to the dining-room. I follow her taking a seat directly opposite her. I bite into this succulent, tongue tantalising nit-bit of roast lamb, and glance up.
‘Thank you, Mother.’
‘No need to thank me, dear, I’m your mother and mothers always know best.’
I glance down at my reflection on my knife. I see my big bright brown eyes, high model type cheekbones, my long slim neckline, and I see my beautiful lips…my beautiful smiling lips. I make a mental note about how sexy my body feels in the new red fitted size 12 peplum dress that mother bought for me from Topshop last week.
I’m happy. Welcome back, Sasha.