Though I'd been drinking and doing drugs since I was 12, to me parties meant slamming beers alone in the woods, or slamming beers with my male friends in the woods until we became brave or stupid enough to fight each other.
We’d pair off, throwing fists into each other’s faces until blood burst from our noses, lips, and once, only once, this guy Mike's eye. A varsity hockey player, Hunter was infamous for hooking up with all of the most attractive girls at school.
Now my mom lived with her son but without her husband, who had to stay in the city because “there aren't enough jobs out here,” which I found strange because there seemed to be plenty of jobs and “no jobs” didn't explain why Ma cried most nights and why her ma, my grandma, looked at me like I was the garbage someone forgot to take out.
I’d sneak bowls of cereal when no one was home, pouring sugar and honey on the off-brand Cheerios pretending they were the Honey Nut kind, the kind my other grandma — who lived near the ocean and never looked at me like I was trash — always fed me.
But right up until that moment I'd been all the terrible euphemisms that were so much worse than simply being called fat: "husky," “chunky,” “portly,” "big-boned," “plump.” Words ingrained in my fabric.
They were a part of me, which is probably why, when the weight disappeared, I didn't even notice that it was gone. I listened to bad rap as I scraped ice cream out of sticky glass containers, the industrial washer making the air wet, my bleach-blonde hair sticking to my forehead.
I got more popular, and by the time senior year rolled around I found myself getting laid during the school year — almost as much as during the summer.
But then I started running even more and adding dip to my all-cigarette diet while upping my nose's intake of my friends' prescription amphetamines.
As the weight kept coming off, I didn't see myself as any less ugly.
They'd smile at me in ways that no girls had before. One day, a young waitress comes up to me and says, “I'm having a party.” Her name tag reads “Tracy” and she is the prettiest human to talk to me in months.“What's that?
” I say, removing my headphones, Eminem mixing with the clanging of the dishwasher.“I said I'm having a party and you should come.