Perception

Fat

Ugly

Worthless

The whispered words whisk through her head in a cacophonous cycle, colouring her vision as she nitpicks her reflection in the change room mirror.  She turns in concord with her glassy twin, glances over her shoulder, and sees only the undulant fat puckered on either side of her bra.  Her face contorts in disgust at the twisted rolls of flesh loosely stretched across her waist as she swivels.  She mourns the cherubic chubby child, metamorphosed into an indolent rotund adult.  She sneers at her mirror-self, eyes plaqued by the venomous whispers.

Fat

Ugly

Worthless

She grimaces, her yellowing teeth betraying her secret, the acidic wear of bile.  Once perfect pearls firmly anchored, now they jiggle and dance in their gummy moorings, aching at the slightest fluctuation in temperature.  The glimmer of laughter embedded in her eyes, has long since dulled to defeat that leaches into the dark circles beneath.  Her hair hangs limp and desiccated now, no longer the luscious luxuriant locks of gold.

Fat

Ugly

Worthless

Repulsed, she turns from the sight of herself, and slips on the the dress she has taken in to try.  She has misjudged her size again, and the dress falls misshapen and ill-fitting over her.  She bites back the tears threatening to spill over, zips up the back and smooths her hands over the front.  Only she can hear the whispered words, the backing track to her life, punctuating every action, every event.  The constant chatter that has accompanied her for the last two years, snakes its sibilant hissing into every recess of her mind.

Fat

Ugly

Worthless

She knows he’s waiting eagerly for her outside the fitting rooms.  He sees only beauty in her.  Every time she appears in front of him, he stands a little taller, speaks a little more confidently.  He is her consistency, her strength, her lighthouse in this raging storm.  Without him, the whispers would consume her, drag her limp and unresisting into a darkness nothing could penetrate.  They would grow in strength and number, they would loom and tower, they would menace and contort, she would fade to nothing.

Tentatively, she pushes open the fitting room door and steps out for him to see.  Her heart beats faster, her palms are clammy and wet.  In a dank, putrid corner of her heart, the honed shard of self-loathing pierces an artery unleashing its venom.  She casts her eyes down, waiting for confirmation of all her doubts, and hears only a sharp intake of breath.

“You’re stunning,” he breathes, “just stunning.”

“She’d look good in a hessian sack!” the shop assistant chimes cheerfully in.

“Yes,” he whispers.

©Asha Rajan

Advertisements