Mini’s Dangerous Curves (1)
I should introduce myself; I’m Mini. And whatever happens from here on out, you should know a few things about me:
1) My Grandma Masha (her name is “Marsha”, but I couldn’t pronounce this Mt. Everest of a word at the tender age of one, so she’s been Grandma “Masha” ever since) raised me after my pop died and my loving ma ran off with her bar brawling super hero…one right after the other.
2) I am in NO way a mirror image of my name. Nope, I’ve never met a donut I didn’t like.
3) I like food because it never says I’m fat or leaves me standing in the rain, with a soaking wet paper Piggly Wiggly bag filled with my most precious possessions on my Grandma’s front step, telling me, “Uncle Larry and me is going to the car lot, you stay with Grandma and I’ll be back before you know it.” only to wait around for 3 years before it came back. And
4) If I had one single wish? It would be to be loved for who I am every day and to never cry myself asleep again. Ok, ok, it’s almost like it’s TWO wishes, I know…but my heart doesn’t think they’re too big to be considered if I ever get the chance to have them come true.
The commemorative Elvis plates line the dusty shelves, their shine limited to the occasional finger streak. I’ve looked at these plates for as long as I can remember. The drapes, so old if Grandma Masha were to wash them, I’m almost positive they’d fall apart upon contact with water. The shag carpet, the color of streaked baby poo, is also a relic. A relic in desperate need of deep cleaning. I’m sitting in Grandma Masha’s living room, the TV on some talk show about paternity testing (doesn’t anyone know who their “baby daddy” is anymore?), eating off of an antique TV tray on a Friday night. It’s what I do every Friday night and well, every Saturday night too. Unless that is, I’m driving Grandma to Bingo down at the VFW Hall on Lakewood Ave. Those are some wild times, it’s like a game of Russian roulette with all the oxygen tanks attached to their die hard smoking owners, you take your life into your own hands on Bingo night in Feltson.
Grandma’s in the kitchen, I can hear the water running and dishes rattling. She has such sweet way about her and being just the tiniest slip of a thing; it’s hard to believe our lineage is truly connected. Grandma is my father’s mother and never thought twice about taking me in when my mother left me here, 20 years ago. I was three month’s shy of my 6th birthday. I was slim and knocked kneed, wearing boy’s jeans and shoes with a thrift store sweater. My hair cut to my chin, dripping and knotted from the rain pouring down on me.
The physical transformation from that little, bitty girl to the plus size food junkie I am now happened almost without my noticing. I wasn’t always rounded and full in places that were meant to be sleek and aerodynamic. But years of rejection and broken promises tend to take on a life of their own and I followed, one tasty bite after the other until I could no longer shop in department stores for my clothes, the tastes began to blend together and my choices were ruled by decisions such as: to super-size or NOT to super-size, needless to say, I often went with “Yes, I’d like that super-sized…”. One cliché I managed to avoid? The ol’ diet coke with my value meal…uhn-uh! I’m a Dr. Pepper girl through and through.
No point in pretending, we all know I’m not there after a brisk and soul renewing work out. No, I’m here because I’m a big girl stuffing my face and feelings with your sloppy cheeseburgers with extra sauce hold the lettuce.
And bless her heart; Grandma only did what she could to make me happy after so many losses. If I wanted chicken fingers at 11:38 pm, we got in the car and headed to the Chicken Hut off old Sawbrick Rd and Main, where she would pull up to the drive-thru menu which sported a microphone in the shape of a chicken head. And she would order those chicken fingers, along with whatever else I had rambled on about on our way to the 24-hour eatery. They knew us by heart by the time I was eight years old. “Pull around Mrs. Marsha, we got’chur order cookin’…” the crunchy and faintly tired disembodied voice would mumble back to her and we would pull around to our bags waiting on the window ledge, with a well versed Chicken Hut employee asking how we were “doing this warm night”.
At the time, I didn’t know to be embarrassed by my habit. I loved food and truly believed it loved me back. I just wanted to be home with my warm bag and ice-cold milk shake, sitting on Grandma Masha’s couch and forgetting whatever it is I didn’t know I was trying to forget at the time. It is those times that I can freeze frame by frame in my mind, analyze in a disconnected sort of way now, and wonder why that didn’t seem wrong to anyone, even me. Because if it had, maybe to even one person? By the time I hit Jr high, I wouldn’t have been ordering dresses from Biggin’s and Round and Full.
Signing out for now,