The expansion of my mid-section was gradual. I was able to deny the facts for a while, convincing myself my clothes were shrinking in the dryer. But when I could barely snap my favorite pair of jeans, I finally had to face reality.
I laid on my bed and wiggled like a snake having a seizure as I tugged and pulled on the faded denim. Once I had the pants past my hips, I sucked in and snapped them closed. My voice rose an octave and I was a tad dizzy, but they were up. Victory.
As I drove to meet my two best friends for lunch, I debated about whether or not to unsnap my pants in the car. I finally endured the pain and left them closed. To be honest, I was too afraid I wouldn’t be able to shut them again.
“What’s wrong with you?” my best friend, Carrie, asked as soon as she saw me. Evidently my discomfort was obvious.
I wasn’t ready to admit my problem, so I denied anything was amiss. She looked at me skeptically, but thankfully we were interrupted by the waiter.
“Can I take your order?”
“I want ice water and a side salad. Hold the dressing.” As soon as I spoke the words, I felt the surprised stares of Carrie and Leslie.
“Where is my friend and what have you done with her?” Leslie asked me.
“There’s no law that says I have to order a burger with french fries every time we come here, is there?” My mouth begin to water as I said the words. I was craving meat in the worst way.
“There may not be a law, but the day you don’t want the Cowboy Burger is the day I quit dying my hair.” Carrie flipped her red hair with a grin.
Leslie turned to Carrie. “I meant to compliment this week’s color. Very nice.”
“It’s in honor of Autumn.”
I was thankful Carrie’s newest hair color had distracted them from my menu choice. Leslie ordered Cajun Lime Tilapia, as usual. Then it was Carrie’s turn.
“Hmmmm. Let’s see.” She stared at the menu as she touched her finger to her lips. “I’d like the appetizer sampler, but I want to substitute the onion rings for the spinach and artichoke dip. And can I please have a side of just chips without the salsa? And I also need some lemons for my water.”
The young waiter wrote furiously, then quickly made his exit.
Carrie looked at me. Apparently, we hadn’t dropped the subject. “So, why the salad? Are you on a diet?”
“My jeans are a little tight,” I finally admitted. “I don’t know why. I’m not doing anything different.”
“That’s the problem,” said Leslie who read health magazines for fun and loved imparting her knowledge on the less educated. “When you reach a certain age, you will gain weight if you don’t increase your exercise or decrease your calorie intake.”
“What age? I’m only forty.”
“Well,” Leslie said as she stared into her drink and avoided eye contact, “at about forty.”
I frowned. “Oh.” That was not the news I wanted. Just then I heard the very depressing sound of my snap popping open. Ahhhh. The extra room in my pants felt really nice. Maybe I would order the Cowboy Burger after all.
The next day I ran an extra mile on the treadmill and started counting calories. However, the skipped meals made me nauseated and the additional exercise made me sleepy. Despite my best efforts, my jeans got tighter and tighter. Soon it was impossible to snap them no matter how much I sucked in.
When it was time for my annual gynecologists appointment, I complained to my doctor. “I’m gaining weight and it’s really frustrating. I think you need to prescribe me some diet pills. If you won’t prescribe diet pills, then I’ll need something to help with my depression.” I wasn’t totally serious about the pills, but I was trying to make conversation to distract me from the unpleasant examination.
Dr. Daniels pulled off his rubber gloves and looked at me. “I’m going to prescribe something, but it won’t be diet pills or anti-depressants. How do prenatal vitamins sound?”
I stared at Dr. Daniels in shock. After fifteen years of marriage, I was finally going to be a mother, a dream I’d given up long ago. Not being able to snap my jeans turned out to be very good news.
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