Flabbing In Front of Family

She’d spent all morning bathing, cleaning, and preening, getting her new plus-size outfit and everything else about and on her fine-tuned for a maximized wonderful wow impression. Now it was time for Eden Offen to get into her car, drive over to her parents’ for a family gathering, and face the music. Given that none of them had seen her since she was still average-slender before the whole incident and unusual chocolate candy consuming career, she expected little other than sour notes.

The strains of one of J.S. Bach’s sonatas for viola da gamba and harpsichord (she could never remember which was BWV 1027 vs. 1028 vs. 1029) burbled in the background over the whole-house audio system as she let herself in through the side door, nearly panicked with how she became nearly wedged—especially since the washer and dryer placement precluded opening the door fully. The Offen family very much liked Bach. Oddly, they weren’t particularly fond of Offenbach. Tense as the tightest of the viola player’s strings, Eden did her best to unobtrusively slip into the household milieu.

That barely worked for even 15 seconds, with her father spotting her wobbling her way out of the laundry room into part of the family room, adjacent to the open kitchen where he stood. “Oh my god!” he bellowed, the serving fork in his hand crashing down atop the platter beneath on the counter.

If the music hadn’t been lossless files playing off a solid-state drive, there might have been the classic record scratch sound. It played on apace.

“Frank?! What is it?!” asked her mother, rushing over.

“I think it’s our eldest daughter” he motioned with his head.

“Daaaaaaad!” Eden whined, “Why are you being so mean?!

“Oh good grocery list!” was her mother’s first-sighting epithet.

Being treated like a ghost of herself by her own parents was hard enough. Then her younger sister got into the act. Her snarky “I’m sooo much better than you are” smirk hardly had diminished over the decades since they’d last both lived at home. What she said aloud upon seeing her sister was right in line with previous responses, “Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! And I do mean FAT!

She did not at all the way her sister Farrah grabbed and shook her all-too-big all-too-wobbly belly roll, slapping her grabby hand away with “Off!

“Where do they even sell clothes that big?!”

“Online, Dad!” Eden hissed through gritted teeth. “And in stores, ’cause it’s only a size 22!”

Twenty two!?” her mother Nan wailed, herself nearly in tears. “What happened to you?! It’s– it’s like you’ve been stuffing your face with chocolates all day long for months or something!”

Gulp. {Is it that obvious it’s chocolate fat?!} Eden internally panicked. “It’s a little water weight gain or something, that’s all!”

“A little?!

“Women’s size 12 to 22 ain’t water retention, big sister!” Farrah assured everyone, poking her index finger deep into Eden’s tending-cavernous navel.

OK! It’s 32 pounds of mostly fat, and it’s mine! And ME! So stop it, all of you!” She pulled Farrah’s hand off her again.

“Thinking of legally changing your name to Eating Often? Might be easier for people to remember, seeing the full extent of the new you.”

Shut up!

“Time to put on the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor” their father muttered, shaking his head.

Dinner at the formal dining table with additional aunts, uncles, and cousins was no better: all were shocked (though the rest less so than her 3 immediate family members). Worse: not a one of them was fat—just her.

She looked up at her mother with the same sort of umbrage she’d expressed around, say, age 6 when unhappy with a plating of some food she didn’t like. This time it was for a wholly different reason. “How come you’re shorting me on portions? I’m not seeing a lack of quantity of anything being served.”

“You don’t need so much” her mother replied coldly.

She was too jaw-drop stunned to reply.


“Shira! Sorry to bother you but, did you really mean what you said that you’d be there for me if my family gave me shit?!

“Hi Edie! Yes I did, and here we are. Hungry?”

Yes! They wouldn’t even give me normal portions, like somehow that was going to magically make me thin again!”

“Been there, lived through that with my folks. Ya up for a nice real dinner at Pigaro’s?”

HHHHHHH! Yes please!”

“Cool beans. I’ll call in a reservation for a 4-person booth for 2 big gals, and get back to you with the specifics. Text OK for that?”

“Yes. And thank you!

“No problem. More soon.”

Those of you who’ve had the pleasure of eating at Pigaro’s know first-hand of their large portions of well-made high quality pork-centric Italian dishes. Even knowing of it and all it had to offer, Eden Offen would have been too embarrassed to go there alone and possibly subject herself to more abuse. With fellow fatty and co-worker Shira, it was a whole other matter.

This was the first time Eden and Shira had done anything together outside work, beyond sometimes going out to lunch locally together, to get away from all the chocolate. They met up in the parking lot, both of them right on time and having arrived close in time.

“You didn’t have to get dressed up!”

Shira smiled, easing up near Eden’s side. “I knew you’d be, having come directly from your ’rents. Besides, this gives me another opportunity to wear this dress before there’s more of me than it can any longer contain.”

Walking next to Shira, both of them well-dressed, into Pigaro’s felt surreal to Eden. She was quite sure she still wasn’t romantically/intimately/sexually attracted to her co-worker, still something about being with her and next to her had a similar sort of tingly pleasant feeling.

“Two?” the twiggy tall hostess smiled, her eyes suggesting to Eden that she at least considered her and Shira some form of romantic item.

“Reservation for two for Shira, that’s correct” the person of that name explained.

“Oh yes: there you are. Right this way, please.”

It wasn’t exactly that Pigaro’s catered to those who were about as wide as tall: mostly those in charge simply liked the aesthetics of grand, big, open spaces: high ceilings, distant walls, huge in height and width doors. Given that aisle spacing was equally grand and that the furniture appeared built in terms of dimensions and sturdiness able to hold a roomful of BBW bash attendees or a Big Cuties model meeting, someone was obviously thinking beyond aesthetics. As well, anyone in the restaurant industry known for serving large portions at a fair price who didn’t plan carefully for accommodating very fat patrons was in the wrong profession.

After the intense shaming she’d just endured, Eden figuratively ate up being able to walk side by side with fatter Shira all the way to their booth.

The fixed bolted-to-floor table was no impediment: she and Shira each slid in with really no greater effort than when either had been of so-called average size and weight. Indeed they fit their booth very well, very comfortably.

“Any interest in sharing an Oink! Platter?” Shira tentatively asked.

“I’d love to! Seeing the menu and wanting one of almost everything yet knowing that even a single entree here will have me at my limit after a fractional feeble dinner within the past 2 hours, that assortment’s perfect!

“Kinda like the variety we get at work, huh?”

“Oh, don’t talk about work, please!” she rolled her eyes.

“Sorry! How are you with alcoholic beverages?”

“Dangerous, when left to my own devices.”

“Dangerous how?”

“They tend to vanish inside me, even before I started on this chocoholic journey we’re on.”

“And? Effects?”

“Lowered inhibitions. Which in my case usually means I’m horny when I’m alone and loose lipped with others.”

“Is there anything that you’ve not shared with me that you’re afraid you might if we split a bottle of red wine?”

“Only one thing I’ve never shared in all our time together at work. I’ll share it with you now wholly sober, and get it over with: I’m way jealous of your boobs. Mine aren’t getting bigger.”

The discussion was suddenly interrupted by their server, whose name tag Shira and Eden later confirmed with each other actually read Chickadee. Shira did go ahead and order the Oink! Platter and a bottle of merlot from a Sonoma winery whose name neither of them recognized, which sounded interesting.

Shira picked up from where the conversation had left off, both her and Eden now sipping water and enjoying occasional bites of warm restaurant-made garlic bread. “Bodies differ. Not everyone fattens in the same places.”

“Yeah I know, but I feel gypped! Bigger boobs seem like the standard consolation prize for dealing with all the other shit of getting and being fat, and I don‘t even get that! My band size is bigger, but not my cups! Know how demoralizing it is to go from 34C to 38B?”

{Not really, but I can’t say that.} “But you win on hips. Haven’t you noticed how Wes has trouble keeping his eyes off you there? And your belly. And your butt.”

“Is he into fat women?”

“That’s like asking if See’s makes chocolates: of course!” she looked at her co-worker incredulously.

Is he fattening us up on purpose?!

“That’s something I’ve been trying to figure out since first arriving there. Further research is ongoing, and necessary before any conclusion can be drawn.”

It felt amazing to Eden to wile away the hours sharing this great meal with Shira. Despite all their time together at work, it was a whole other experience being able to pause when they each wanted, rather than when an unpredictable candy drop dictated their timing.

Eden’s sharing of details of her day’s drama then later listening to Shira’s own earlier grief gave each of them needed cathartic release.

When the Oink! Platter had initially been set down by Chickadee, each of Shira and Eden figured in their mind that there’d be leftovers. With no effort and absolutely no discussion, over the course of the hours, they wiped it clean. Comfortably, very pleasantly full they each were. Overfull they were not.