It takes some of us a lifetime to grasp the biblical admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. The day Phoebe found her old diary is when that insight began to flood her being. The first shocking entry had been at the beginning of high school.
Fat people make me sick. I’m sure they don’t mean to, but I just don’t get it. Why would anyone want to be anything but slim? I would never say this to Liza, my best friend since first grade. She’s grossly overweight but just laughs like it’s a big joke. She’s about the only girl who doesn’t hate me for having an eye-popping slender shape.
Phoebe stopped reading, horrified at her insensitive thoughts back then. She flipped ahead to the last month of college.
It won’t be over, as they say, until the fat lady sings. Liza is going to dazzle the crowd at graduation with her outstanding voice. Afterwards, she’s heading to New York to pursue a musical stage career. It’s amazing how she has never let her size interfere with that dream.
I’ve been in and out of the hospital for what they call anorexia. Those medical people must be blind. Can’t they see I’m a cow? My goal is to wear a size zero and be a high fashion model. Maybe I’ll meet up with Liza in the Big Apple and encourage her to get control of that runaway obesity.
When the repentant tears started, Phoebe put the diary aside and made several attempts to get up to go to the bathroom to wash her face. Her husband used to give her a hand, but her huge girth disgusted him, so he left for good. She lumbered down the hall like a mama bear, still sobbing at her youthful stupidity and terrified to think about Liza’s impending visit tomorrow. They had not seen each other in seven years.
The next day she took hours to get showered and shampooed. If Liza was going to be shocked by the big change, at least Phoebe would be clean and wearing the only thing that would fit her--a new muumuu.
When the doorbell rang Phoebe took a deep breath and braced herself for Liza’s response. She was not prepared for what her own would be. Standing on the front porch was a beautiful, svelte, classy looking woman who squealed and threw her arms as far around her old friend as they would reach.
“Hey, Pheebs! It’s so great to see you. We’re going to have such a wonderful time this week.”
Phoebe was stunned. She wasn’t even sure who this woman was and why she was attempting to hug her. It sounded like Liza, but a decidedly trim and more buff version.
“Liza? Is that really you?”
“Why of course, silly. I wouldn’t be this excited to see a stranger. Oh my, don’t you look pretty in that color?”
After several hours of catching up, Liza still had made no obvious notice of the enormous weight gain. Phoebe decided to take the embarrassing plunge.
“Okay, Liza. Let’s get the proverbial elephant out of the room so it doesn’t get any bigger.”
The skinny young woman was startled at her portly friend’s blatant frankness. After a few seconds, she burst into stress-relieving giggles.
“Phoebe girl, you were thin and now you’re fat. I was fat and now I’m thin. What difference does it make? We’re still friends.”
After a few gulps and false starts Phoebe decided to share some devastating news with her pal.
“Liza…I won’t be fat for long. I just found out I have a wretched disease whose aggressive treatment can cause a patient to lose weight very fast.”
Liza took Phoebe’s hand and listened, sympathized, and prayed for healing. Then she had some surprising news of her own.
“Phoebe, I don’t know if we’ll ever be the same size at the same time. I will be re-expanding very soon. Jake and I are expecting triplets.”
Both women laughed and cried and hugged. After two bowls of low fat ice cream they said goodbye.
Three years later, Phoebe made an entry in her current journal.
I’m finally at a healthy weight. According to the doctors I’m cured of the monster that tried to take my life. Liza has lost all her new mother fat.
I have come to appreciate an amazing irony: We’re the same size now. She was right. It never mattered in the first place.
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