Penelope takes a deep breath, says a silent prayer, squeezes her eyes shut, and steps forward with her right foot. Then the left one.
She pops her right eye open. Then the left one. At first, she keeps her gaze directly on her feet, rather than the numbers, which are just above her scarlet painted toenails.
I’ve done all the right things. I’ve eaten all the right foods.
But as Penelope pinches at her midsection, she already knows she’s going to be disappointed. Especially with the way her jeans fit her yesterday - ugh.
Let’s just get this over with.
Finally, Penelope raises her eyes to the digitized numbers on the little LED screen.
“Shit!” Immediately, her eyes fill with tears. She hops off the scale, storms back into her bedroom, collapses on her bed and shoves her pillow over her head.
Moments later, there’s a knock at her door.
Charma enters. “What’s up? I just heard you cursing in the bathroom.”
“I don’t wanna talk about it. Sorry if I woke you.” Penelope’s voice is still muffled by cotton.
Charma sits on the bed next to Penelope’s prostrate form. “You went on the scale, didn’t you?”
Penelope’s only response is a moan.
Penelope finally takes the pillow off of her head. “I’m never gonna fit into the dress now. You might as well find another bridesmaid.”
“Oh, Penny,” Charma’s rolling her eyes. “Don’t be such a fucking drama queen. It can be altered, you know. There’s still time!”
Now Penelope’s sitting up, managing to produce a weak smile. “Or I could just get ‘the surgery.’”
Charma throws an arm around her friend, chuckling. “I’m so gonna miss living with you.
“Now, instead of sitting here moping, how about we go pack you a special lunch to take to work? That oughta help you out, at least a little. We still have a month to go.”
Penelope sighs. “I still don’t think that’s enough time, but it’s worth a try.”
“That’s the sprit!” Charma says, and they head to the kitchen.
“So – what’s for lunch?”
It’s a ritual at Penelope’s workplace; like school-aged children, they compare their afternoon meals in the cafeteria. But her co-workers have become even more fascinated with hers since she’s been watching her weight.
Penelope sighs. She wishes she’d never gotten them involved, but then again she thought it would be easy. It wasn’t their fault that she was failing miserably, so she might as well indulge them.
Reluctantly reaching into her insulated lunch bag, Penelope starts to verbally list its contents. “I have got: half a sausage pizza; a BLT sandwich; four red velvet cupcakes; a bag of Doritos and a large carton of chocolate milk. Oh: and some peanut butter M&Ms.”
“Do you really think that’s gonna help you gain enough weight to fit into your bridesmaid’s dress?”
Penelope shrugs. “It’s worth a shot.” Then she picks up the Tupperware container that holds her pizza and heads to the microwave.