Home > 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(6)

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl(6)
Mona Awad

“S’matteroffact,” you tell her, reaching over and fiddling with the little red bow nestled in the black webby lace above her breasts, “s’one of the reasons I came over.” You have a new set of songs you composed, and you would like the fat girl to be the first to hear them. “Furst,” you assure her, holding up two fingers.

“Really?” she breathes. Oh! Oh! How you have made her night no her week no her month no her year!

How different her reaction from the reaction of Some People, who only rolled their eyes and muttered, Here we go, when you offered to play your new collection (tentatively titled Novembral Musings). Who filed their nails and frowned through whole tracks into which you had squeezed out every last bit of your soul like drips from a well-wrung rag. Your biggest fan, the fat girl—she listens. She gets it. She bites her lower lip in order to keep, you must assume, from crying. She lies on her back on the floor (“so I can really listen”), closes her eyes, and nods gravely along to the loops of feedback and fuzzy distortion.

“Wow,” is her first word. Spoken in a fervent whisper, with eyes still closed. Wow, wow, wow, breathes the fat girl, pressing a hand to her red-blotched chest. And when you ask if she’d like to hear more, she does not roll her eyes and say, Christ, there’s more? like Some People. “I’d love to,” says the fat girl, like you even had to ask.

Epic. Primordial. Gritty. Incandescent. These are just a few of the adjectives the fat girl feeds you along with her Banana-Rama bread, her peanut butter and raspberry triangles, her rocky road. She says it’s like you have Leonard Cohen’s touch with lyrics coupled with Daniel Johnston’s sincerity coupled with a Rimbaudian aura of tragedy yet with Nick Cave teeth. She doesn’t tell you not to quit your day job, like Some People. Instead, she counsels never to give up, her gaze wet, dark, and adoring as a dog’s.

You lay your head in the crushed-velvet lap of the fat girl. You tell her how it’s difficult not to give up . . . when there are Some People who don’t appreciate you.

“But I appreciate you,” she chimes, running plump fingers softly through your thinning brown hair.

“Well, Some People don’t,” you tell the fat girl; she gasps, all shock and indignation.

“Well, Some People have terrible taste,” she sniffs, which is what you’ve thought all along. It’s amazing how you and the fat girl always seem to think the same thoughts at the same time. Like you share two halves of the same brain or something, you tell her. And she agrees.

“Like we’re kindred spirits or something,” she whispers, lowering her eyes. And then, after a moment, she looks at you again. “I wrote something,” she says shyly. “For you.”

She wasn’t going to read it before, but she feels it might go with the creative intent of track eight. She wonders if you’d like to hear it.

“Sure,” you tell her.

You do not hear the elegy of the fat girl, which she reads in a quavering voice from a journal patterned with Celtic faeries. You are too busy watching her, being transfixed. How her hands tremble, how the red blotches on her cheeks and chest bloom bigger and brighter (you make her so nervous!), how she peers shyly up at you from time to time through a curtain of dark hair, her eyes moony and bright. And you don’t know what it is, if it’s the dirty mothers or the vodka or the rosé or some sort of black magic, but you can’t take your eyes off the fat girl; she has transformed, as she always seems to do around this time of night, into something you could almost love for an hour.

“S’great,” you tell the fat girl, before she is even finished, but it shuts her up. “Yurr great,” you tell her, as you brush a lock of black hair away from her flushed cheek.

Delicious, how she shivers at your touch.

“Oh,” she whispers, and only hopes you won’t forget her when you’re famous.

“Won’t,” you assure her. How could you ever forget the fat girl? She is, after all, your biggest fan by far. And no one ever forgets their biggest fan. It’s just bad manners. Bad, bad, bad, you breathe into the hot, crimson ear of the shuddering fat girl.

Now all of the vanilla-fig candles have burned down to their wicks. And all the sandwich triangles and fudge bars and Banana-Rama bread slices have been eaten, washed down with the last of her love potion. And you are dancing with all three of the fat girl to the best of your B sides. You weren’t going to play them at first, but she begged you to let her hear them; she pressed the fleshy palms of her hands together and begged. Well, all right, fat girl.

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