There’s a teenage girl I see in the park who runs regularly. She wears bright red tights, a hoodie and reminds me of a dancing bear. She’s pretty, with long tawny hair caught in a ponytail with cheeks that seem to smile almost by accident.
And she’s fat.
I ache for her, wondering, was she always a kid with a weight problem, or is it just overindulgence? Why should someone that young be saddled with such a trial?
Weight’s a bitch because it’s all you think about, and I know she’s no different. Doesn’t matter how many laps around that track she does, those thighs will still accompany her home.
“Ma, do I look thinner, just a little?”
“You need to eat more than a yogurt for breakfast, young lady.”
“Is that a no?”
Of course this sends her straight to the Twinkies because it’s the only way those hurt feelings will momentarily be eased.
If I could talk to her, I’d tell her what a beauty she is, because she is, then tell her what little I know about Botticelli, who would have found her breathtaking.
Then I’d suggest a couple of good magazines like Women’s Health and Yoga Journal, tossing in Real Simple for good measure (I’d add a little Jane Austen but we don’t want to push it) and ask if she had a blender, the dieter’s handyman. Life tastes pretty good if you add bananas and berries to it laced with some low-fat almond milk and a shot of Spirulina.
But I know her tactics too well. I’ll have a Chobani for breakfast, an apple for lunch so by dinner, I’ll be ready to eat a horse, or at least a Shetland pony.
Of course in my reverie I’ll never be a mentor to this kid since, if I said a thing she’d report me to a park ranger.
The Upper East Side…strange parts, what can I say?
But I’m still rootin for her.