Guilt is a tricky little motivator. Annie never considered it before, but hearing all the rage made her think about the growth of her girth and all the fat shaming that goes along with it. So early Saturday morning she took up running.
Her friends talked about how much they’d grown to love it over time, and her sister claimed endorphins kicked in and took over her sense of routine. Frannie professed being hooked on the high now and couldn’t do without it. So when was all this magic supposed to take place?
Only light-headed nausea and an overwhelming urge to vomit rushed over her so far. She often stopped along her route, lucky to find a fence to support her, and huffed and puffed until the latter urge subsided.
Never been an athlete, more of an athletic supporter, it suited her fine being called a jock strap all through high school in that capacity. Having a tall, slender frame led her to a false conclusion she’d never need to take up jogging. Long ago memories of a continuous buffet line faded into a present-day realization that middle age meant exercise was a necessity and not an option. She previously ate anything she wanted. No more.
Gravity not only sucked her bust southward, but mysterious fat layers made Annie feel like she dove head-first into the pool and shoved an inflated ring to where it stuck around her midsection. She was the butt of the laugh track on the funny video show. She didn’t find it the least bit humorous.
Insidious changes metamorphosed her physique into a fairly unrecognizable woman in the bedroom’s full-length mirror. The same blue eyes stared back at her, and the profile stayed more or less identical, save for a gentle slope in her neck where jaw definition used to live. Mid-range changes perplexed her, though. This person must’ve snuck up on her over the last few years.
She bumped up to the next shorts’ size after the baby and never went back again. She missed that woman.
Hoping she’d find her somewhere on the hiking trail surrounding their neighborhood, Annie laced up her trainers and set off for another morning jaunt. “The only way to work off the weight is through cardio,” she admonished herself. “Come on, Self, get going again.” With that thought, she departed for her run.
When Annie next opened her eyes, an out-of-focus round face stared down at her. A strange man’s voice echoed in her ears, almost as if in a tunnel, “Hey, lady … you okay?” Taking a deep breath, she tried to sit up but decided against it when her head began to swim.
Gingerly placing the throbbing orb back down on the sidewalk, she asked the man, “What the hell happened?” His three heads shook side to side, not quite coming into a single point of convergence. He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “You tell me. I was driving down the block and saw you laying here on the path.”
“No worries,” she told him. “I’m a runner.”
The prompt, Taking a deep breath, came from my post via Studio 30 Plus.