The Palate Cleanser

“Bad Bones and Baklava”
by Pania Oz

A baklava. One baklava. It wasn’t large. And P told me it was honey and not oil that made it glisten so. Oh but it all falls by the wayside in digestion. I swear that within the hour my hips had inflated like one of those nasty plastic beach contraptions. Oh, ick, the bloat. The agony! I finally sighed, “okay,” I growled on the way home. There was a moment of silence before anyone asked me, “What the hell was that …  growl?” From behind the steering wheel, even without looking down, I could sense the closing of the gap between my thighs. The thickening of my ankles, my toes even. Fingers looked like sausages wrapped in an awkward grip, not quite right, not right at all. I break down. “Faaaat!” I wail.

I explained it to my nutritionist this way: I’m willing to eat. I like to eat. I feel better. But then I don’t look like myself anymore and it freaks me out.

It doesn’t look like “you emaciated,” you mean.

Right. Same thing.

So I’m fat today. Because … well, because of baklava.

I’m not crazy. (I mean, I am, right? But …) The first doctor I visited, well-meaning, I’m sure, told me the following: “You can gain the weight. Hey, it’s only a few cartons of Haagen Dazs.” Cool. Good advice. As if I don’t already think I’m always just a pancake away from overweight.

I should have stuck with that doctor, come to think of it.

Now my doctors don’t believe me when I tell them I gained ten pounds over the weekend and then lost it all by accident between Sunday and Monday. [Note to reader: this happens every weekend, I swear on my dusty cross-trainers.] “It’s a long, slow process,” they gently remind. Oh, God. I can guarantee they wouldn’t say that if they’d had the opportunity to witness my exploding pockets of knee fat yesterday afternoon.

But, as I unleashed my angry inner animal in the driver’s seat, P and S couldn’t see it. I wanted to pick up one leg and dangle it over the center console for them to see. I wanted to reach over, grab their blind little graspers and demonstrate my abdominal flab to their unseeing minds. But no dice. “O-M-G,” P acronymed. “T-F-M” (our private jargon indicating an individual whose behavior is too effing much).

It doesn’t make sense to me. My bones are disappearing so fast that I can’t remember what they looked like anymore. They’re nowhere to be found. P sighed and pointed them out to me when we returned home. “I can’t even touch you without poking myself,” she insists. Poke. She demonstrates. Poke. An emphatic “Ouch!” I remain unconvinced.

It just doesn’t make sense. I miss my bones. But no one will let me have them. Bad bones. Bad, bad bones, they think.

But what if I like them? Doesn’t that count for something?

All anyone wants me to do these days, it seems, is join them for fries and a shake at Chubby Freeze. I’m the selfish one for not participating. And no one gives a hoot about my long-lost bones.

I only ate half my dinner last night. My bones came back this morning. Phewf.



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