The Chubby Girl in the Green Swimsuit

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Running in bare feet, Geri Evans pumps her legs as fast as she can down the hot asphalt hill. The noonday sun has baked the ground beneath her, burning the soles of her feet. So hot is the ground that the hill appears to lengthen as she races in brief spurts, stopping occasionally to rest on the cool lawns of her neighbours. From the Greeley’s lawn, she reckons she can reach her own if she sprints with all her might, but when she sets off she stumbles, stubbing her big toe. Tears spring from her eyes, but she pushes herself on until she reaches the cool concrete drive leading up to her house.

Looking down, Geri studies the flap of broken skin at the tip of her toe, marvelling at the coagulating blood, eager to show off all the glorious gruesomeness to her older sister. Her sister almost always had the best injuries. She stands with her head bent down for a full minute; just a small child with wet hair clinging to her head like a helmet. Her tanned limbs poke out of a lime green swimsuit. Engrossed by her own bloodshed, she does not see Mr Paisley watching her from his garden next door.

Suck in your belly!‘ he roars at her.

Pulled out of her reverie, Geri feels her face go hot. Embarrassed, she pulls in her tummy, glancing up shyly at the wretched old man before darting to the safety of her front door. She hears him chuckling behind her. Once more, tears well in her eyes.

In her room, Geri stands before the large mirror of her dressing table and practices letting her tummy out, then pulling it back in. In and out. In and out. She smirks at her face in the glass, then peels off her wet swimsuit and discards it on the floor. She changes into clean panties and a nautical playsuit, then stands still, listening to the sounds outside her door. Her sister, Marti, bursts through the front door and rushes down the hallway to the bathroom. She shuts the door loudly behind her. Geri hears the tinkling of her sister’s pee, then the flush of the toilet. Finally, she hears Marti charging back outside, murmuring something unintelligible to her mother. Geri’s posture softens.

After pulling in her tummy a few times more, she turns her attention to her paper dolls — her favourite set featuring slim, willowy ballerinas with a selection of pretty, pastel costumes. She named the prettiest ballerina ‘Geri’; the mean-looking one, ‘Marti’.

Someday Geri will be beautiful. Someday she will be thin and graceful as a ballerina. She will be a mommy too. She will have a beautiful baby girl with a head of soft, light brown hair and big brown eyes like Geri’s mommy. She will marry a handsome prince of a husband with dark hair and shining blue eyes and they’ll share dinner dates where Geri will dress up in gorgeous pleated chiffon dresses and diamond earrings, her long, golden tresses elaborately piled atop her head. Her husband will reach across the table and take her hands. Gazing into her face, he will kiss her fingertips and pledge to love her forever and ever. And she will be thin. And she will be beautiful.

#bodyimage #girlhood #shortstory #fatshaming #story #chubbychild

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