Friday, 10 May 2019

RAT RACE by Naomi Elana Zener

"Where will you send your kid to school?" I'm asked at point blank range.
Confused silence the response, being pregnant this question was strange.
The man continued to press, advising I've disadvantaged my unborn child,
Educational choices must be made when eggs in ovaries are running wild.
"I'll take my chances," I replied suppressing the laughter of my fetus.
"Public school is free," I said,"it turns out doctors, even some named Cletus!"
Subliminal humour flew over the man's half-bald cuckoo’s nest,
In which his private school-educated brain was clearly at rest.
The parent, first of many, I've met who turn parenting into competitive sport,
Cross-examined me, scrutinized my choices as if I was a witness in court.
Leaving no stone unturned, each inquiry made in a judgmental fashion,
With each answer criticized, self-esteem like the DOW, diminished daily by a fraction.
Once baby arrived 'Gladiators: The Parenting Edition' throttled into full force,
Should baby and parent lag behind, then you've bet on the wrong horse.
Developmental milestones is where tiger parents would first pounce,
Heaven forbid your child is delayed, your faith in him you'd have to renounce.
Of course your paediatrician tells you each baby is different, don't worry, don't fret,
But, of your child only your doctor is genuinely accepting than the parents you've met.
And should your child not crawl, walk, talk and teethe preternaturally,
Then ensure clothes bought transform junior into one in vogue baby.
The park is not a playground, rather it is a fashion battle field.
Chances of success depend heavily on the brand of weapon you wield.
"Cute outfit," a mother remarked smugly looking at your kid up and down,
A no-name generic dress she is saddled in, your smile fades to a frown.
Reminding yourself baby's not on a red carpet or step and repeat,
Nonetheless, you hang your head in shame, returning home in defeat.
Compensating for another loss in the Darwinian competition,
You buy a second stroller, an overpriced celebrity-endorsed edition.
Customary greeting of neighbours replaced with an envy-laced question,
Instead of hello, "how many strollers do you have?" is the demanded confession.
No matter the number of music or sign language classes in which your baby is enrolled,
If not the most expensive or popular, your hand at this poker game you should fold.
Good luck if baby potty training has not commenced before turning one,
The embarrassment you'll face is worse than a red face from the sun.
"But you're forcing your child to sit in feces and urine!" the holier-than-thou exclaim,
A 'poo-pants pigpen' moniker will be your baby's newfound fame.
First birthday party, the parenting pageant's dreaded next round,
Each grander than the next, bar mitzvah scaled monstrosities abound.
Replete with live entertainment, french service, table centerpiece decor,
The days of cake, balloons, 'happy birthday' song are no more.
Upon safely reaching base camp, baby healthy and year one now behind you,
Mount Everest awaits, seventeen more years of this nonsense, you turn blue.
How to get through it all without tears, humiliation or falling to last place?
Finding a community of non-type A parents is now the chase.
Avoiding helicopters is easy, your kid is the trick,
Get out of plans easily, the card played is baby is sick.
Children are not accessories, for that we have BMW, Louis, Prada and Rochas,
Neither are they extensions of vanity or ego, to think otherwise lacks gravitas.
Raising kids does not have to be a sanctimonious rat race,
March to the beat of your own drummer, set a new pace.
But, if in the jet set urban developed jungle you wish to reside.
Find a good shrink and accept this reality, for from it you cannot hide.

(c) 2019. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Less Screen Time Means More Sexy Time by Naomi Elana Zener

“Are we ready to have a great session today?” Dr. Spencer asked the group, as he entered the room.

Five couples sat in folding chairs arranged in a circle formation in Dr. Spencer’s office. The husbands and wives fiddled with their hands, each person equally uneasy about being at a group couples counseling session—especially one that was so intergenerational.

The Victorian McSweedley couple, dressed in their Sunday best, the missus sporting a lace trim collar up to the scruff of her jawline, her neck adorned with an intricately carved oversized ivory cameo in her likeness, and the husband bedecked in a three-piece tweed suit and tie.

Next to them sat the Platocrates-era team, wearing matching togas, noses in air, barely acknowledging anyone else’s presence in the room, annoyed that their seats weren’t elevated on pedestals above the fray.

Across the room were Mr. and Mrs. Grunt, him in a Sabre-tooth tiger loincloth, her in a Wooly Mammoth one shouldered A-line number, both which were hanging off of their bodies due to the strict Paleo diet they followed.

In his letterman’s jacket from his high school football hero days, and in her hoop poodle skirt with a matching sweater set, sat the nifty fifties Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, both remaining politely silent with their hands folded in their respective laps, careful not to touch each other.

Rounding out the group were the Schwartzes, victims of the modern age dressed in matching hipster distressed indigo denim jeans imported from Japan, untucked  Lumberjack flannel shirts, Blundstones, and sporting his-and-hers matching tattooed wedding bands. Neither made eye contact with anyone in the room let alone each other, as their respective gazes were transfixed firmly on their dated iPhone 6+ screens, being held in one hand, as they each sipped artisanal water from mason jars held in the other.

Each of the couples were there for the same reason: sexy time in their respective marriages had steadily declined due to advent of emerging technology available to each of them.

“So, who wants to start?” Dr. Spencer asked of no one in particular.

No one uttered a word. Dr. Spencer pleaded non-verbally with his eyes, begging for one of the couples to kick things off so he wouldn’t have to engage the Socratic method to get at the root of their respective sexless marriages. Finally, a sound was heard in the room—well, more of a groan.

“Yes, Mrs. Grunt?”

“Cave draw-draw. Man no boom,” Mrs. Grunt advised. Mrs. Grunt inserted her left index finger into a circular formation she made with her right hand, and then waved her husband’s club in the air.

“You mean you don’t have sex?” Dr. Spencer prodded, inserting his fingers into each other. He was doing his best to make his rudimentary penetrative finger gestures seem less obscene to illustrate the meaning of the word.

“Uh,” Mrs. Grunt sighed. Mr. Grunt hung his head in shame. Mrs. Grunt stood abruptly from her seat, went over to Dr. Spencer’s wall, and mocked drew all over it. Then, she pointed at her husband.

“So, he draws non stop, leaving no time for you?” Dr. Spencer queried.

“Cave bad,” Mrs. Grunt advised. “Fire bad, too. Burn balls.”

Mr. Grunt, growing agitated, began to thump on his chest, demonstrating that he was still a red-blooded male. Mrs. Grunt laughed.

“Mr. Grunt, your wife is trying to tell you that she wants you to, to…” Dr. Spencer stopped himself—surmising from his patient’s look of confusion that he didn’t understand his words—and copied Mrs. Grunt’s gesture to illustrate his point. Then, he walked over to the wall, and wagged his finger to indicate that the cave wall drawings had to stop. “Understand? Draw bad. Boom good. And, no boom near fire. Fire bad for boom.”

Mr. Grunt nodded his head and grabbed his club from his wife’s hand.
He stood up, walked over to the wall where Dr. Spencer was standing, and smashed his club into it before Dr. Spencer could stop him.

“Cave bad,” Mr. Grunt repeated. Mrs. Grunt clapped her hands, as Dr. Spencer shook his head, mentally calculating how many holes Mr. Grunt had put into his wall since he’d started therapy. Dr. Spencer made a mental note to call building maintenance after the session ended.

“So, how about the Platocrates? Ready to share?” Dr. Spencer asked. “This time without philosophizing.”

“How O ye forget, deceived by the force of my husband’s eloquence, the great speaker he be, our problem rests alone in the bathhouse the men of Athens visit with frequency,” Mrs. Platocrates whined, shifting awkwardly in her toga as she tried to cross her legs demurely. Mr. Plutocrates stood to pace the room.

“So, he’s still going there on a regular basis?” Dr. Spencer asked.

“I am a great speaker, the force of truth flows through my lips, yet I’ve not spoken the truth to you. But, you shall hear the whole truth from me.  First, I must reply to my accuser, my wife. I must beg of you to grant me favour.” Mr. Plutocrates begged.

“I grant ye nothing. You’ve shamed me. Shamed the house of Plutocrates.”

“The origin of these accusations, that there is something strange I have been doing, is unfair.  I will endeavor to explain why I have such an evil fame. It is because my wife is closed-minded to the boundaries of an open marriage,” Mr. Plutocrates explained.

“As I wisened from hearing the insightful words from our fellow friends in the last session, you are as they in this room say, a bullshit artist,” Mrs. Plutocrates spat. “If Alexander the Great chooses to have sex in the bathhouses, means not that you engage as he does. Bathhouses have murdered marital sexual relations. Tis no different than the distraction of cave walls, which hath killed the Grunts’ marriage!”

“I’d like to visit a bathhouse!” Mrs. McSweedley screamed. All eyes peered at her, for it was unusual for the couples to address each other during these sessions, due to their inhibition to discuss sex publicly. “My apologies if I spoke out of turn.”

“No, no, you’re on to something,” Dr. Spencer offered. “Mrs. Plutocrates, are there bathhouses for women?”

“For certain there are. Women must bathe, too. Or else, we are no more than common pigs,” Mrs. Plutocrates advised. “But, for not they are used for sex.”

“Maybe they should be,” Mr. McSweedley suggested. “Sorry, if that was too forward of me.”

“The woman lies! She chooses not to engage in coitus, but the opportunity for it exists,” Mr. Plutocrates philosophized.  “Perhaps my wife is better suited to live in the McSweedley’s prudish era. Mr. McSweedley, how about a wife-exchange?”

Mrs. McSweedley gave Mr. Plutocrates a sly wink.  So, too, did Mr. McSweedley. Three-way?, he mouthed in Mr. Plutocrates direction.

“Mrs. Plutocrates, are you having sexual relations in the bathhouse?” Dr. Spencer asked.

She shook her head no.

“Now, don’t you think you’re being unfair? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The bathhouse is the emerging technology of your era, just like the smartphone is to the twenty-first century. You have to find a way to make it help your marital sex life instead of letting it ruin it.”

Again, Mrs. Plutocrates shook her head no. The couple was at an impasse, neither willing to bend to the other’s philosophical will.

Unequipped with the necessary language skills, and frankly bored,  the Grunts preoccupied themselves with picking nits out of each other’s hair, while the group session continued around them. No one seemed to take note of his or her behaviour.

“Since you both refuse to listen to my reason, perhaps the answer is to be found in the wisdom of the God of Delphi. Would a mixed sex bathhouse work for you both, where you can engage in sex with each other and with whomever you please, so long as nothing is done behind each other’s back?” Dr. Spencer suggested.

The couple was intrigued by Dr. Spencer’s idea, and noting the other’s seeming openness to the idea, they softened toward each other.

“So, if I’m to understand you clearly, we can do whatever we want with anyone we want, as long as we are both doing it at the same bathhouse?” Mr. Plutocrates asked.

“Exactly!” Dr. Spencer boomed. “What happens in the bathhouse, stays in the bathhouse.”

The Plutocrates smiled.  Consensus had been reached.

“So, who’s next?” Dr. Spencer asked. “Mrs. McSweedley, you were quite vocal before, maybe you can tell everyone how the emerging technologies of your era have affected your sex life.”

“We fuck like rabbits,” Mrs. McSweedley advised. “Nothing keeps us from coitus.”  Mr. McSweedley cleared his throat, nodding in agreement with his wife’s revelation.

The McSweedleys candour drew blank stares. Normalized to their prim attire, prudish remarks, and constant flow of apologies if ever they spoke too loudly or out of turn, no one in the room expected them to divulge much information, so their confession was more than the other couples’ ears were prepared to digest.

“Um,” Dr. Spencer stammered, unsure of what to say.

“There are several emerging technologies, which we are enjoying immensely are the advent of travel of rail and sea, and electric telegraph messaging,” Mr. McSweedley advised. “We send each other sexual messages by telegraph all of the time.”

“We’ve even had sexual relations on a train,” Mrs. McSweedley added.

“Then, what is the problem?” Dr. Spencer asked.

“We’ve got our first boat trip coming up. We are heading across the Atlantic on a steamship, but we worry that the Missus’ motion sickness will put a damper on our enthusiasm for testing out rocking the boat, if you know what I mean, ol’chap,” Mr. McSweedley winked at Dr. Spencer. “Coitus interuptus.”

“Or, coitus not-at-all-tus,” Mrs. McSweedley whispered. “I’d be mortified if I vomited on my husband with each of his penetrative thrusts inside of me.”

“Do you have Dramamine?” Mrs. Schwartz asked in her thick Yonkers accent. “I take it on all of our cruises, and when my hubby sexts me that he wants to do it, I pop a pill, and then he pops me.”

“What is this Dramamine, of which you speak?” Mrs. McSweedley asked.

“I don’t think it’s been invented yet for you, unfortunately,” Dr. Spencer advised, as he Googled his online drug compendium manual to see when the medication was invented.

“What is sexting?” Mr. McSweedley asked.

“Honey, you’re doing it already, only with paper,” Mrs. Schwartz advised. “Your people were the innovators of sexting,” Mr. Schwartz advised.

“It’s sending sexual messages over phones instead of by telegraph,” Mr. Schwartz advised. The Schwartzes resumed playing with their phones, as they’d done since the group therapy session had begun.

“You can even send pictures,” Mrs. Schwartz added.

“Nope, sorry. You’re a few hundred years too early for Dramamine,” Dr. Spencer advised, looking up from his computer. Mrs. McSweedley became teary-eyed. She feared the three week long boat trip would be powered less by steam and the vessel’s motor, and more by their pent up sexual frustration due to the abstinence forced upon them.

“Fear not my sweet, sexual dynamo. Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Mr. McSweedley said.

“If the motion of the ocean interferes with knocking boots, why not just have sex mirroring the roll of the waves?” Dr. Spencer asked.

“By George, I think he’s got it!” Mr. McSweedley explained. “Thank you so much for sharing your brilliant wisdom.” Mr. McSweedley jumped out of his chair and rushed over to the good doctor. He grabbed his hand, shaking it profusely. Mrs. McSweedley stood slowly, and gathered the couples’ belongings.

“My dear, I think it behooves us to practice what the good doctor has preached. Let us away to our home, so we may practice having sex in the bathtub, “ Mrs. McSweedley instructed. Like a good Pavlovian puppy, Mr. McSweedley pranced over to his wife’s side, and the two skipped out of Dr. Spencer’s office.

“We are making great breakthroughs today. Since you both shared some wise words with the McSweedleys, do you want to go next?” Dr. Spencer asked the Schwartzes to no reply. Their faces were buried in their iPhones. “Ok, since the Schwartzes are otherwise preoccupied, Beavers you’re up.”

“Television is certainly a big problem. All of these new shows keep us from engaging in sex,” Mr. Beaver advised. “And, TV dinners don’t help matters.”

“My husband can blame the idiot box all he wants, but that’s not the reason he’s not looking at or tinkering with my box,” Mrs. Beaver retorted.

“Darling, such language,” Mr. Beaver gasped.

“Cut the crap, Marvin. You’ve said fouler things when you throw a gutter ball during your bowling championships. I wish your mind was in the gutter as often as your bowling balls are.”

“What do you perceive the problem to be?” Dr. Spencer asked Mrs. Beaver. “If the new television technology isn’t the root of the problem, what is?”

“TV is a big problem, but thanks to the advent of separate beds, and Marvin living in black and white, the only thing that’s being left to Beaver is whatever June Cleaver makes her family for dinner,” Mrs. Beaver complained.  “My beaver is getting nothing. Zip. Nada.”

Marvin Beaver’s cheeks flushed deep crimson.

“Maybe you should try to push the beds together,” Dr. Spencer offered.

“But, we got separate beds to help my sciatica,” Mr. Beaver whined.

“Keep playing the sciatica card, and we’re getting separated,” Mrs. Beaver shot back.

“What I’m hearing is that you’re not tending to your wife’s needs. Time to turn off the TV and share that twin bed of hers. Close quarters will rekindle the flame that once burned brightly,” Dr. Spencer advised.

“If I’ve got to turn off the TV, what about them?” Mr. Beaver spat back, accusatorily pointing his finger at the Schwartzes. “Shouldn’t they have to spend less time on their calculators turned into phones?”

“It is true that studies have shown that less screen time results in more sexual time between partners,” Dr. Spencer advised. “Clearly, the form of screen, whether a smartphone, the interior of a cave wall, or a TV set can cause problems. But, really any emerging technology, from Ancient Grecian bathhouses to Victorian, um, er—well, it seems despite their prudish exterior, the Victorians love sex and don’t let anything get in their way from having it—can have a detrimental effect on said sexual relations.”

The Schwartzes didn’t look up from their phones—each watching new shows from Netflix and Amazon, respectively, on mute so as not to be disrespectful to the others—nonplussed by the other couples’ sexual problems. They figured that since they sexted each other, which led to sex at least once a week—pretty good for a decade long marriage with kids—that was good enough for them. Mr. Grunt, a highly sensitive man, who responded to Mr. Beaver’s increasingly agitated body language at being told to get rid of his TV and play with his wife’s beaver, saw him waving his finger in Mr. Schwartz’s phone’s direction.   Being fairly non-verbal, he couldn’t understand what Mr. Beaver was babbling about, or what Mr. Schwartz was saying, but upon seeing Mr. Schwartz protect his iPhone 6+ while Mr. Beaver waved at Dr. Spencer’s wall, he clued into the fact that something was bad about the device in Mr. Schwartz’s hand—very bad indeed.

“Argh!” Mr. Grunt bellowed, as he stood up commandingly from his chair. He waved his club in the air. A shared look of terror and panic spread across everyone else’s faces, with the exception of Mrs. Grunt, who recognized his actions as those she oft witnessed as part of his ‘boom’ foreplay. Without warning, Mr. Grunt charged Mr. Schwartz. He swung his club at the iPhone 6+, which promptly flew into the air. Multiple cracking sounds were heard, the least of which were those coming from Mr. Schwartz’s hand, in which metacarpal and phalanges bones broke on impact with Mr. Grunt’s club. The iPhone 6+ fell to the floor, shattering on impact. So much for having a shatterproof screen. The silent tension in the room was palpable.

“Boom. Boom,” Mr. Grunt advised Mr. Schwartz, pointing his club at Mrs. Schwartz, directing her husband to perform his husbandly duties.

“You owe me a fucking new iPhone 6+,” Mr. Schwartz screeched at the caveman. Mrs. Schwartz did her best to try to muffle her guffaws, but couldn’t contain her snorting.

“What’s he going to pay you with?” Mrs. Schwartz chortled.  Dr. Spencer, the Plutocrates, and Beavers were howling with laughter. “He make you fire. You give fire to Apple for new phone?”

“Fuck fire. He can have you. I’ll take your phone. Where you’re going you won’t need one.”

“Oh, don’t be such a spoil sport. Hell, maybe don’t replace the phone and try having sex with your wife directly instead of through the mobile device,” Dr. Spencer advised. “Mr. Grunt did you a favour. The 6+ is such a piece of crap, anyway—it bends. Time for a new phone anyway – the Apple X is out. “

© 2019. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Work-Life Balance by Naomi Elana Zener

Whomever coined the term "work-life balance" for moms should be shot,
For any mother trying to achieve it knows she cannot.
In the truest sense of these magical words,
It means both working and parenting full-time, which is absurd.
Perhaps it is accomplished if one holds employment part-time,
Spending more time with the kiddies is easier and sublime.
Yet if a career is the goal, not simply holding a job,
Better learn to burn the candle at both ends moms, as you quietly sob.
Some vocational fields are "softer" to which women are herded,
More amenable to parenthood, but around feminists dare not be blurted.
Women today are expected to do it all,
While wearing stilettos and not dropping the ball.
Law, medicine, finance, or running a business, to mommies are unforgiving,
For these A+ driven women at everything are used to winning.
Juggling the weighty balls of getting it all done perfectly,
Results in their being dropped and shattering quite frequently.
Disappointment running rampant pouring in from every side,
Need more hours at work! Unsexed hubbies! Neglected kiddies! Mommies run and hide!
Lavish trips, great gifts, consolation prizes bought with that great bonus,
A mea culpa for mommy's absence, which she hopes they don't notice.
Reminding the family that nanny is not mother and wife,
Unhappy with the mess she has made of her life.
Cracked under pressure, women launch into tirades laced with profanity,
Enriching "swear jars" at home, being driven to the point of insanity.
Spontaneous combustion imminently to occur,
"Something's got to give!" she screams " I can no longer be her!!"
Finding even ground before she falls over the cliff,
For excelling at career and family, is but a myth.
Putting family first she must, it's the inevitable decision,
Second place career, hoping not to look upon herself with derision.
As the saying goes, so tired but true,
Being a woman is tough, just do the best you can do.

© 2019. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Bariatric Divorce by Naomi Elana Zener

He took note that the kitchen light was on. Hopping up from his yoga mat in his serenity garden, Albert bounced like an eager bunny toward the house. Upon entering the kitchen, he slammed the door with the ferocity of a jungle cat. Not a lion, but definitely something more powerful than a hyena.

“Honey, where are my Quinoa bars? I left out a plate of them on the counter this morning, and when I came in to drop the kids off at the pool, they were gone.”

Alice, Albert’s wife, was standing in the middle of the kitchen busily whipping up a fresh batch of waffles to compliment the baking pain of chocolat in the oven. Upon seeing Albert standing in his yoga speedo, dripping sweat on her bacteria-free, pristine floor, her nostrils flared. Setting down the bowl, careful not to spill any batter, she placed her hands on her hips, and took a fighter’s stance—legs hip-width apart, stretching the nearly threadbare nightie, barely containing all of her nearly three hundred pounds of loving—ready to spar with Albert. Skinny Albert. Mostly newly skinny Albert.

Albert had been a Rubenesque man who never met a super-sized McDonalds meal he didn’t like. But, with his hips bordering on replacement territory, knee meniscus weary of bearing the load for another mile his shoes would walk them in, and a collection of several cliques of plaque vying to overtake the precious little free real estate left in the caverns of his coronary arteries, he knew it was time to lose weight. At 54, Albert bar mitzvahed himself into becoming a healthy man.

“Do I look like I ate your fucking quinoa bars?” Alice asked rhetorically.

Albert said nothing.

“You come in here, with your exercise-fresh B.O. and accuse me of eating your hay? That’s rich.”

Alice shoved past him to get some crème fraiche and strawberries out of the fridge.

“No, what’s rich is the savory, succulent aroma of pain au chocolat, wafting through the open window into the yard where I’m trying to complete my sun salutations. Jesus Christ woman, can’t you stop baking for forty-five fucking minutes?” Albert wailed.

“Sorry Mr. Paleo. It’s not my fault that you deprive yourself. Maybe if you ate something more than a Dukan-Atkins-South Beach approved bowl of air, you wouldn’t be so miserable.”

Although his body had adapted quite nicely to the dietary changes he’d made, Albert’s olfactory bulbs hadn’t lost their keen ability to dissect the constituent ingredients in Alice’s Ina Garten-worthy cooking concoctions and baked confections. His nose was his albatross.

Alice threateningly waved a hot, melt-in-your-mouth croissant in Albert’s face, forcing him to recoil. He backed away from her and sat down at the kitchen table, beads of sweat still pouring down from his furrowed brow. The smell of Alice’s baking was killing him. With each inhale, he feared he’d consume unwanted calories from carbs, triggering weight gain. This caused him much chagrin since he’d lost one hundred pounds. Now, weighing in at a healthy one hundred and fifty seven pounds and six ounces, Albert was adamant that he’d never be called Fat Albert again. Sitting in the shadow of his wife, almost half her size, he cowered in fear that he tried to hide behind the bravado of a machismo, newly athletic alpha-male.  No matter how hard he tried to come off as a fearsome tiger, he usually failed, and at best, his wife would mock him on each occasion as being a milder version of Puss in Boots.

“Ever since you decided to lose so much damn weight, you’ve become a crankenpuss. It’s ‘do you know how many calories are in this?’ and ‘I just ran so many miles!’ NONSTOP. You’ve had a one-track mind. And, now you want us to both go keto?! I’ve had it up to here with your clean living crap.! Keep it up and I’m gonna divorce you,” Alice threatened.

“Maybe if you joined me in my quest, you could be…”

“Just as miserable as you? No, thanks.” Alice devoured a pain au chocolat in one giant bite.

“Did you even chew?”

“Fark ewe,” Alice garbled, licking the excess chocolate left on her lip.

“Do you have any idea how many calories were in that?”

“No, but I bet you can tell me. Here’s a little math problem for you to solve. If I baked two dozen croissants, all containing 70% dark chocolate, each one roughly the same shape and size, and I intend to eat all of them in one sitting, minus the one I just ate, how many calories do you think I’ll burn when I kick your ass for telling me how many calories I’ll have consumed?”

Albert sat at the table stunned. Alice proceeded to eat the second croissant in the batch.

“Take your time. I’m not going anywhere. But, just know, I can eat a lot faster than it takes you to transition from Downward Dog into Warrior One.”

“How can you eat yourself to death like this?”

“Listen Al, I’m happy with who I am. I like myself. And, I like food. If I want to eat a carrot, I’ll put it in a muffin. If I want to walk, I can take a stroll down the grocery store aisles. I never asked you to lose weight—you chose to do that. And now, while you hang out with your fellow grass munching, meditating compadres, with your faces pressed against restaurant windows, licking your lips upon seeing everyone laughing as they consume their Linguine a la Vongole with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon, you must know that they are laughing at you. Well, maybe they aren’t, but I certainly am.”

“But, if you just exercised a bit more, and stopped eating so many carbs, you could lose weight and be happy.”

“Did you lose your hearing when you lost all your weight? I just finished saying that I am happy. When living the way I do no longer makes me happy, I’ll make that change. But, watching just how happy you’ve become after doing a total one-eighty, depriving yourself all the time, I know I’d never be happy living like you.”

“I want to be happy together,” Albert whined. “I think you’d love the biking, running, kayaking…”

“Albert, now you’re just insulting me. Have you seen the size of my ass lately? You expect it to fit into your itty bitty kayak? Come on.”

“You like to walk. We could start slowly and take evening strolls together.”

“Or, you could eat a cupcake. Here.” Alice shoved the plate of croissants at him. “Start with one of these.”

Albert stared at the plate, his mouth watering and his hands trembling. The sweating, which had stopped once the cool air conditioning enveloped his body, had started up again as he used every bit of strength he had to keep his hands from grabbing one, or ten, of the delicious treats.

“Don’t start eating on my account. I don’t want to be resented by you or ever blamed for you gaining weight.  Babe, I think it’s time we separate. I’m never going to stop eating or enjoying it, and you’re never going to start.  Kale is not the new chip, and quinoa is crap. Your weight loss drove a wedge between us.”

“But, I still love you.”

“Maybe, but you love being skinny more. I’m not playing your game of bariatric brinksmanship anymore. I want a divorce.”

© 2019. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.