It's Sunday night. I'm in a situation that still feels unreal to me: desperately trying to pick an outfit for dinner. It used to be so easy, and Kit knows it. He's on the bed, dressed in his shirt and tie, his black socks wafting in the air while I'm charging back and forth. Is it too cold out for this? Am I gonna be comfortable?
"The purple dress," he says. "I always love you in that."
"Yeah, and I know why," I snicker. "Look at this neckline. That's a good reason to put it back."
"Because Kip is gonna spend the whole night ogling my chest, no matter what. I don't to give him more ammo."
Kip is Adrian's brother who most definitely has a crush on Judith. It's incredibly sad and upsetting and a big contributor to why we haven't exactly kept things cozy with that side of the family. But tonight it's a big family dinner and we've got to go.
"I'll sit between you two," he huffs, half-jokingly I think. "He'll behave. And I'll get the show."
"You get the show no matter what," I snap back.
He has a retort of his own, "Not always. You make me work for it."
"Damn right I do," I say. I slip it on over my head. Predictably, my boobs come falling out, my bra is visible. You get so used to seeing women in movies and TV and magazines who have their outfits perfectly chosen for them, you don't think about how sometimes nothing just goes together. You need a goddamned masters degree in fashion sometimes to put together an outfit - a really nice one - that "goes."
I slip it off. I prefer a more modest light blue top. It's silky, so I like the fabric, it covers everything and goes with everything. Kit makes a face. "What?" I ask.
"I've never liked that one," he sighs, "Simply not flattering, I don't know what Judith was thinking when she bought it."
I huff dejectedly, "She didn't. I bought this one."
She reaches into the closet and pulls out a shear dark green top. I roll my eyes. We're back to square one, because everyone can see my bra in it.
"That's what the blazer is for," he says with a smile. I nod, okay, that will work. He adds, "There's a really nice knee-length knee-length skirt in there to finish it off."
I don't particularly feel like wearing the skirt. I haven't shaved my legs. I don't have anything against the garment in general. I'm over any kind of male-born aversion to girly clothes. Bring it all on, but make it comfortable. Instead, I opt for slacks.
Kitty gives me that face and says I look like I'm going to a job interview. I roll my eyes and insist I look fine, but a look in the mirror makes me doubt that.
I can't believe I'm about to utter these words but I do: "I feel fat."
I feel up my belly. I twist and look at the way my hips balloon out and project into a big round butt. I'm used to looking this way, and honestly it's not so bad, but I don't feel "fat" until my clothes don't fit right. Make no mistake, if I had been incarnated as a huge lumberjack of a woman I would have made due without shame, I think. But there's something about this situation that makes you feel the pounds and inches you gain after you get here, and Judith's body is pretty prone to fluctuations. Basically, I want my clothes to fit. It's a real kick in the tits when you have that notification that you're getting bigger, you're having an effect on this body. It feels unforgiving. I suck in as best I can. This isn't going to work.
"I'm sure you have something more forgiving," Kitty says. He's trying to be reassuring, but he's not.
"No, never mind, I'll wear the damn spanx," I grumble, dropping trow so that I can put on something restrictive that will keep me from breathing properly all night but at least allow me to fit in these damn pants. Then I have to find shoes to wear with it. Two-inch black pumps. Why does everything have to suck?
We go out, and it's a nice enough time. Nobody notices I'm being quiet. I order the salmon because it seems light. The Kid wants to order off the adult menu but I remind her that she wasn't able to finish the steak she ordered last time we tried that. Kitty says there's no shame in the doggie bag, and I say fine, knock yourself out.
Kip is ogling me no matter what I wear. I wonder if Judith ever felt flattered and encouraged it.
We get home. I'm definitely too tired to have sex, but we do kiss and cuddle a bit. I think about what an ordeal just going out for a night is sometimes. I toss and turn, and then I'm up half the night re-living my salmon. Not on purpose - I'm not trying to slim down, I just can't keep it down. Kitty sleeps through the whole thing. Between retches I pull my hair back into a ponytail so it doesn't get chunks in it.
On monday morning a thought occurs to me and I can't get it out of my head. I'm gaining weight, I'm getting sick, I'm a bit moodier maybe. I'm trying to remember when was my last period. I'm not on the pill and they tend to be erratic. I swear it's been less than a month. Once I went over 5 weeks between them, but that was before Kit and I were even doing it so I didn't think twice.
I happen to check the blog and see Jonah's post about his/her little baby girl.
I find myself at the pharmacy in the "Family planning" aisle. The pregnancy test seems like an unnecessary expense, right? My period will come any day now. So much grief and embarrassment in bringing it to the cashier, it's not worth it. I'm worrying about nothing.
I buy it and take it home. I couldn't even look the cashier in the eye as I did so, I can't even pretend I'm hoping for a positive to decrease the awkwardness. I drink two glasses of water, more than necessary. I'm shaking. This can't be happening. I'm only months away from getting out of here. I can't screw this up, for me and Judith and everybody. I can't get stuck here like Jonah. Even if what Kitty and I have is for real, we are not meant to stay in these bodies.
I pee on the stick. The two minutes it takes to reveal the result are the worst I have felt in years. Worse than waiting to find out how your body is transforming. Worse than whatever it was that drove me to walk out on Meg. Every problem I've ever had seems so small in this moment.
I breathe a sigh of relief. I feel like I've just been found not guilty of a federal crime. I look again. Still negative. Breathe. My heart and stomach settle back out of my throat.
I put the test back in the box, and put the box in a bag and I walk to a nearby park and throw it out. I think about what, if anything, to tell Kitty. I do plan on saying something about it, but I had to get rid of the evidence just so that he wouldn't find it first and ask about it. I need to control this.
I'm still very shaken. I walk home, sit down, breathe for twenty minutes, then look at the calendar and count the days until we go back... again.