All I gotta do is go in and try on the dress. I’ll tell them I have to run because work was extra busy this week and I have to work on a Saturday. I’m really sorry, but it’s my job. Sarah will be upset that I’m missing out on bonding with the rest of the bridesmaids. She will tell me that she has always treasured long friendship. I’ll feel a twang of guilt but then she’ll be distracted by her sorority sisters and wont even miss me when I’m gone. I take a few deep breaths. Just go in and try on the dress and leave.
I walk into the David’s Bridal and immediately scope out the location: how wide are the aisles? How many chairs are there? Do the chairs have arms?
“-combination of weight watchers and keto.” says a rail thin woman. She has very blonde, very dry hair and is surrounded by a group of six equally thin women. I recognize her, it’s Addie. Dear sweet beloved Addie. She’s always had the best intentions. “That’s what I usually do on the days I eat.”
Oh god. It’s already begun.
Addie looks towards me but not completely at me, “Stacy! You’re here!” Every word that comes out of her mouth seems to cost her so much energy. She calls out over her shoulder, “Sarah! Stacy is here” She turns back over to me, “She’s going to be so happy to see you!”
She looks terrible. She seems exhausted. Her movements are slow. It doesn’t seem like she’s really focusing on anything. Her hair looks so dry and brittle. Her cheeks are gaunt. She gazes at me hungrily, desperate for my approval. She’s always been jealous of my relationship with Sarah. I don’t really understand. Sarah and I aren’t even as close as we used to be. We’ve just grown apart. But Sarah loves me.
I hear a familiar squeal from behind a dressing room. “ I’ll be right out!”
“No worries babe! I’ll just get my dresses.” David’s Bridal has exactly 7 dresses that come in my size, only 5 in cuts that I like and two that aren’t too long for my height. I approach a woman with a clipboard. She has big perfect eyebrows and a blow out. On her chest is a name tag that spells out V Y C K I. Vycki. I pull out my cellphone. “Hi, I am here to try on these 2 dresses in size 22. I-”
“We don’t have that size in store.”
“Yes, but I-”
“You have to order those ahead of time”
“Uh yeah, I did that, I ordered it beforehand, I received this confirm-”
“We haven’t received a shipment yet”
“You did, I got a confirmation that it’s in the store.”
“When was that?”
“What’s your name?”
Vycki pushes the speak button on her headset, “Hey someone has to go to Stockroom G to pick up a dress.” She starts typing away at the register computer. “Well someone’s gotta do it! I’m at the register!” She looks at me with a forced smile, “Where is you party? We can just bring it to you.” She doesn’t even let me respond before she turns away and starts scream-whispering into her headpiece.
I walk towards the girls. Addie sits in the center in a giant bench type situation. She is flanked on either side by her minions. They’re all excitedly listening to her go on about how “Dates are actually too sweet for her.” There are very few seats left. There is one chair that looks like it’s being held up by splinters. Another who’s whole seat is basically the size of a bucket and also has armrests, and a third one that is exclusively metal bars that would make my foot fall asleep in an instant. So I stand.
“Stacy! Sit! There’s plenty of room.” She gestures to a 6 inch space next to her that only a 3 year old could fit in.
“Oh actually I’m good. It was a long drive. I want to stretch out my legs,” I say while stretching out my back, trying to be convincing.
“Don’t be silly! Come sit!” She scoots over to give me more space but still ends up giving me less. I shake my head but she’s not listening. She’s waving me down aggressively and everyone is watching me and pointing at the seat, they’re all adjusting trying to give me more space but it’s not working, there isn’t any more space for me.
“I’ll just sit here!” I walk to the splinter chair and hover my body over the seat. Try to distribute all my weight evenly as I gently sit down. Most of my weight is on my legs and thighs. I’m trying so hard not to take too deep a breath because a breath too strong might snap this chair in half. I smile at Addie. She seems annoyed that things didn’t go exactly her way but satisfied I sat.
“We were all just talking about all of use getting a dress that’s a size too small. That way we’re all incentivized to lose weight before the wedding. It’s also a fun way for all of us to bond. Would you be down?” All the minions nod and giggle. They’re all looking at me enthusiastically, hungrily, desperately.
“Oh no, I um, don’t really go on diets anymore. It’s just, I’m not good on diets. It takes up too much mental space.” I look over to Vycki as an SOS, she is still fighting over the headset. Doesn’t seem like my dresses will arrive anytime soon.
Addie is confused, as if she’s never heard anyone say something like this before. “What do you mean?”
My mouth is dry. I pull the water bottle out of my bag and take a swig. “Well, I have been on diets for most of my life and I realized that I actually derived a bunch of pain from them so I decided to never go on a diet again. Now I just listen to my body, and give it what it craves. I’ve never felt healthier.”
Addie smiles at me, god, she’s actually really pretty. In this lighting she doesn’t look as bad as she did when I first walked in. Our eyes lock for the first time. I can see her appeal. “Oh I love that!” Her minions all seem to perk up too. They all add on some, YASSes and girls get it.
I, on the other hand, am starting to experience some tunnel vision. I take a few deep breaths, but not too deep. As I still hover sitting on the splinter chair. They start talking about some Instagram Influencer that has been cancelled recently and how they don’t get it. I just need to try on the dress and head home. I take a swig from the water bottle.
I look at Vycki, she’s typing away furiously at her register. I shouldn’t bother her. I yawn. I didn’t realize how tired I was. I thought I got enough rest last night but I didn’t get it. Where is Sarah?
“Who even is Lizzo anyways? I’ve never heard of her” says Addie in the middle of a rant. My ears perk up when I hear her name. “Everyone is mad that she made fun of Lizzo and I don’t even know who that is.” The minions all make confused noises. “Never heard of her.”
“Lizzo is actually great.” I say they all turn their heads to face me. In what I would imagine as perfect unison. “She’s this pop rap star who is fat and speaks a lot about body positivity. Yawn And loving yourself for who you Yawn are. She is yawn currently charting at yawn number yawn one.” I place my head on my hand. Geez.
“Oh I love that.” I hear Addie say joyfully. “I love it sooo much.” Her minions are all cheerfully agreeing. I look up and they’re all staring at me. Their eyes are alert and hungry. They look like hunting dogs waiting for the signal to strike “I worry about her health though.” She has a satisfied grin on her face. She’s so beautiful when she smiles. Her cheeks get rosy. I can’t believe I thought her hair looked dry earlier. It’s magnificent and strong and sooo long. How can she keep it so healthy when it’s so long.
I feel the chair beneath me start to give way. I was leaning too much of my body weight on it. I pulled together all my strength to hold my body up. I must be dehydrated, I try to drink another swig from the water bottle but I guess I must have drank it all. “It’s a myth that because you’re overweight it means you’re unhealthy. There’s a book called health at every size. That speaks about it.”
*CRACK* The splinter chair breaks and the world disappears. And I’m far far away. “Stacyyy. Stacyyyy” I hear in the distance. I feel myself being pulled towards the voice but I don’t wanna go. “Stacyyyyyy.” I open my eyes and they’re all hovering over me. Addie, Vycki, and Sarah are holding hands above me. The minions are surround them.They weren’t satisfied yet.
“Hey Stacy, you’re back,” says Sarah while stroking my hair. She looks so happy and smug. “I’m sorry that chair broke from under you. But don’t be embarrassed-.”
“I’m not. Shit happens. Especially when you have an ass like mine.”
“I love that.” They say in unison. “I love that. I love that.” They start to chant and slowly one by one they break off into a dance. I LOVE THAT. I LOVE THAT.
I am barely hanging on by a thread. They’re all gracefully dancing and laughing and singing. Only Sarah remains on my side.
“I’m so happy you’re here Stacy. You’ve always made me feel so good about myself.”
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