Weight Watchers

by Peggy Duffy    

My sister steps off the train and I hardly recognize her. It's been eight months and she's lost another twenty pounds easy. She tries to hide it beneath her bulky sweater, but I see it in the hollow of her cheeks, the cords bulging at the side of her narrow neck, the knob of her collarbone peeking up from behind the knitted neckband.

She sees me and waves (2 calories). I run the short distance between us (14 calories) and grasp her thin frame to mine (1 calorie). "You look good," I lie.

"I wanted to surprise you." She beams (2 calories).

"I'm certainly surprised." I take a deep breath (4 calories) and smile (2 calories). "How did you do it?"

"You know how some people look in the mirror and see fat even when their bones are sticking out?"

"No," I lie again. We stroll toward the exit doors (10 calories apiece).

"Well, even layered in fat, I couldn't see anything but thin. The way I looked before having kids. One day I was at the dealership, waiting on the car to be fixed. I happened to be standing beside this chunky woman in front of the showroom window. I caught our reflections in that window and, by god, I was the fatter reflection."

"You were never fat." Third lie. I close one eye so I can see the shadow of my nose with the other and gauge if it's grown larger than hers.

We pick up the pace and make our way towards the hourly parking (40 calories). At the car, I catch our identical images in the window. I am three minutes younger and despite the distortion of the concave curve of glass, certain I am at least three pounds lighter.

She turns to me (only half a calorie). "How much do you weigh anyway?"

I hoist her heavy suitcase into the trunk (15 calories!) "Still less than you do."

"I'm working on it."

"I never stopped."

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