Writing Exercise #3:

I could stand to lose some weight. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I’ve just turned into a pig lately. It’s really just a matter of being healthy. I should probably start exercising, too. Just to get in shape. I hate being winded after climbing a flight of stairs. I really shouldn’t be that inactive. Maybe I’ll start running. And this time I’ll have to do it more than once or twice a week.

And I’ll look so much better if I just lose a little weight. I’ll be such a better person if I took better care of myself, was healthier, ate better, exercised. It’ll be a whole new me. A me people actually want to be with. Nobody likes the fat girl. Sure, she’s fun to hang around with and be friends with, but nobody actually pays attention to her. I guess it’s just time for a change.

If you could read her mind, that’s what she’d be thinking. Kind of sad, isn’t it? That’s what I keep saying, but nobody seems to listen to me. I guess we’ve all got problems. Her name is, well, I don’t know what her name is yet. That’s not important. She could have any name. Why don’t you pick one? Pick the name of a sister, or a daughter, or a cousin, or a niece. It really doesn’t matter, it’s probably happening to them anyway.

She’s been like this for a few years. It probably started as early as elementary school, as much as we all hate to admit it. They’re just kids, right? Yeah, but kids aren’t stupid. Kids see what goes on. And if the world is screwed up, they’ll just follow suit. She wasn’t always skinny, either. She was one of the biggest babies in the nursery at the hospital. Until she was about five she was a pudgy little thing. But then she started stretching into a green bean, and she’s been tall and slender since. Her hair’s brown and straight, lately it’s been looking like the cover of Cosmo. But I won’t go there yet. She’s 17 and has just about everything going for her. She’ll graduate in the spring and go off to the wonderful world of college. Right now it’s just the state school, and she’ll probably go into education like every other girl.

She’s outgoing and likes to hang out with other people. She’s been into party scene since middle school, and before that she was the queen of slumber parties. She has a gaggle of friends just like her, all of them probably have the same problems and the same hang ups. And of course they don’t talk about it. All of them lost their virginity in the back seat of a car with a random high school hottie — but the interesting part is they all did it in the same park, and not one of them has yet admitted it to the others. For our little sweetheart it was an awkwardly handsome young stud named Craig. They slowly worked their way up from sucking face, to feeling each other up, to Craig getting a little too excited on the back seat’s upholstery. Finally Craig learned to contain himself long enough for the two to consummate their two month relationship and stumble into the wonderful world of sexually active children. Luckily she came to her senses a few weeks later and dumped Craig. But don’t worry about Craig, he’s a real swift guy and picked up a friend of his ex the next week and consummated his back seat again. Apparently he discovered that you don’t get breasts with masturbation, so he had to find himself another insecure girl.

But Craig is so last month. She’s over him now. Not that she was into Craig in the first place, he was just an accessory. Like so much in her life, Craig was just something to make her look good. On the bright side, she is smart enough not to accessorize with cheap beer and LSD. One day that will be Craig’s downfall. It’s usually plentiful at the many parties she attends, but she knows enough to limit her consumption. She got plastered once as a sophomore and it wasn’t a fun morning at work the next day. Every customer who walked into the Gap seemed to be talking way too loud, and her supervisor seemed to find something wrong with everything she did. She spent the second half of her shift in the back room, away from customers, away from other workers, quarantined from all human contact. Her supervisor said something about dark eyes and bags don’t sell sexy clothes. What did she know?

Her parents are pretty clueless. Most parents are. If her father knew of her back seat exploits he’d have to commit himself. He still thinks she’s his sweet little girl, and he tries to ignore everything that says otherwise. The fact is he’s stuck in a marriage that hasn’t worked in quite a while, and he hopes having a perfect daughter will make up for it. If not he pleasures himself with porn on the Internet, just to be on the safe side. He needs to have something pleasureful in his life, and his wife definitely isn’t that.

Mom is another story. She could be her own story, I’ll have to see if anyone’s covering that one. Her marriage is a sham, and only continues because divorce looks bad. So sex is pretty much out of the question. She definitely has the same problems as her daughter, but hasn’t discovered a way to deal with it yet. Right now she gets by with repression and being pretty much completely repulsed with her body. The idea of her husband finding her attractive makes her ill, and she hasn’t let him touch her in five years, and then she was drunk. She works in a big office building for some national company and does some work that nobody really understands. It’s basically glorified secretarial work, but don’t tell her I said that. If she wasn’t so worried about what everyone else thought, she’d be scoring with the guy across the hall, the one that checks out her ass when she goes to make copies, the one who’s actually gay.

So it’s a fairly complicated life. Right now she’s finishing up with high school and beginning to understand that college is the same thing as high school only with more freedom and more ways to ruin your life. Prom is coming up, but she sees that as another show, another chance to make an impression on people who already have more than an impression about her. She’s hoping to lose enough weight to really wow everyone, leave them with one last image of her as the undying hottie of high school. At least that’s what she thinks. Half the girls there want the same title, and the other half think they already own the title.

Besides working at the Gap, she spends her time doing homework, figuring out how to look like someone she’s not (have a tighter ass, have slinkier hair-whatever that means, and make her breasts look bigger than they actually are), and believe it or not, volunteering with kids. That’s the one redeemable aspect of her life. She volunteers at the Y and leads an after school group of elementary kids. They do crafts and have snacks and play games. It’s basically after school baby sitting until the parents get off work, but it’s given her a sense of purpose. This is why she’s going into education, which really isn’t a very promising thought, if you think about it.

So that’s where I come in. It’s my job to keep our little friend from doing something harsh. It’s probably a little late for that, but I’ll do what I can. I’d hate to see her thrown in a psyche ward, or worse, lying motionless in the bathtub, wrists slit, eyes drooping back in her head and soul departing for another world.

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