Trapped – Published in Montgomery Magazine – January 2018
This line isn’t moving, I sing through my ventriloquist lips. How do I always manage to select the slowest line?
It’s PINK written across the tight butt of the woman in front of me, that’s made me miss the sign.
Now locked in, caged between two grocery carts, I’m groaning when PINK turns offering a sympathetic smile and says, “Cashier’s a trainee.”
“Right.” With a half-hearted smile, I nod reading the word Namasté emblazoned in gold across her well-endowed chest.
I looked like you when I was your age. BC, Before Children, I’m lying to myself when a smidgen of free space opens on the belt. I squeeze in a Pisa Tower of fruits and vegetables when PINK turns, glances, no, glowers at me.
“I’m not finished unloading yet,” she says shoving my groceries back.
“Right.” So much for the Namasté. I offer an apologetic grin while juggling the fruits of my crumbling tower, trying to ignore the runaway apples rolling under neighboring carts.
I once joined a gym, even had a trainer until he stretched my back out of joint. A year later I tried jogging. A true believer in costuming for incentive, I bought myself an iPod, geared up in the best running shoes to fit over my bunions and styled myself in Lululemon’s latest fashions.
Fred, my husband, was encouraging, at least until the bills arrived. Then he loved me just the way I was. But I was committed at least until the third week when summer kicked in.
Summer in Washington, DC. The heat. The humidity. It was unbearable. The blessing of kinky hair was not a good look for the season. There was no silky ponytail like PINK’s swaying across my back. Only Brillo rising from my head like Kramer’s from Seinfeld. And I sweat. I hate to sweat.
So, I put the running days on hold until the fall, hung the outfits front and center in closet to encourage my return, where they’ve lived collecting dust ever since.
Instead, I invested in beauty products, fad diets and injectables. With the introduction of each new plan, Fred would say, “Oh, geez, not another new plan. How much will this one cost me?”
I sort of resented his attitude. I worked too, an unpaid volunteer. But raising our four children was not like sitting home eating bonbons all day, although my hips and butt might have delivered a different message to the uninformed observer.
Fred continues to claim he likes the more natural me. But when he left for yet another week-long business trip, the second this month, I thought I’d try a diet, drop a few pounds and tone up at Orange Theory Fitness while he’s gone. Welcome him home to the new, natural but sexy, well-toned, slimmer me.
I imagined Fred’s twinkle of approval when hearing I’d signed up for the more economical location and unlimited classes per month package. He loves a bargain even if it means my driving the extra thirty minutes out of town for the discount.
I’ve embraced the workouts with enthusiasm. First, in keeping with the frugal spirit, I outfitted myself with a few of Target’s finest workout tanks, tummy tucking spandex pants and two irresistible, and just a little overpriced, mix/match hoodies.
Today, having completed my second class of the week, I’m exhausted, still burning splat points and starving. That’s what brought me to this grocery store outside my familiar territory, where the store manager, having joined the checkout party to void an improper charge, is now waving and thanking everyone in line for their patience.
PINK having lost the peace, loving, yoga spirit responds with an exasperated sigh turning about to garner my support.
Ha, you’re not getting anything from me, honey. I turn my head and scan the tabloid papers in the magazine rack. “Woman Eaten by Her Own Venus Flytrap Plant.” I laugh aloud grabbing the paper and lose myself in the poor woman’s fate.
“Ma’am,” I hear the cashier’s voice, “I can ring you up now.” But as I lower the paper from my face I see Fred outside the storefront window. He’s kissing PINK, loading her groceries in the trunk of his car.
I run to the window, bang on the glass, watch, wide-eyed as the car drives away. Turning back to the cashier, I hear myself shouting, “Do you sell Venus flytrap plants here?”