I’m a sweating fat kid standing
on the edge of the subway platform staring
at the tracks. I’m 17 years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I’m
6 foot 1. I
have a crew cut, yes a crew cut, sallow skin, and the kind of mouth
puckers when I breathe. I’m wearing a shirt that reads, “Miami
Spring Break 1997” and huge, bland tan pants - the only kind
of pants I
own. Eight pairs, all tan.
Sunday afternoon and I’m standing just over the yellow line
decide whether people would laugh if I jumped. “Would it be
funny if the
fat kid got splattered by a subway train? Is that funny?”
I’m not being
facetious; I really want to know. Like it or not, apparently there’s
something funny about fat people. Something unpredictable. Like
when I put
on my jacket and everyone in the hallway stifles laughter. Or when
up after sitting in the cafeteria and Jennifer Maraday, Brooke Rodriguez,
and Amy Glover all bust a gut. I don’t get angry. I just think,
funny about that? Did my butt jiggle? Did I make the bench creak
it sounded like a fart? Did I leave an indentation?” There’s
got to be
something, right? Right?
it’s not a stretch to be standing on the wrong side of the
giving serious thought to whether people would laugh if I threw
front of the F train. And that’s the one thing that can’t
can’t laugh. Even I deserve a decent suicide.
That’s why I’m standing here.
Because I can’t make up my mind. I’m
thinking about what Dayle said. Go ahead… I wouldn’t
miss you. Go ahead…
Go ahead… I’m telling myself my brother didn’t
mean it, but even I know
that’s a lie. Meanwhile it’s hot and I’ve been
standing too long… I close
my eyes and imagine the whole scene as it might play out.
First, the train is coming, its single
headlight illuminating the dark
tracks. I hear its deep rumble and take the fateful step forward.
to picture myself flying dramatically through the air but realize
wouldn’t have the muscle power to launch my body. Instead,
I would plummet
straight down. Maybe I wouldn’t even get my other leg off
the platform -
my weight would pull me down like an anchor. That’s how I
see it. The
train plows into me; my fat busts apart, expands to cover the train
and the tunnel walls. I’m splattered. Except for my left leg
lying on the platform untouched – a fat, bleeding hunk of
Fat Kid Messes
Up - coming soon to a theater near you.
I start to laugh. Suddenly there’s
something funny about it. I swear to
God. There really is.
Chapter 2 coming soon.