It happened in the dressing room at Macy’s at the Walt Whitman Mall. I’d chosen a pair of jeans and a few blouses to try on. It had been awhile since I’d been shopping, and I was getting tired of the dresses and stretch pants that had defined my wardrobe.
Facing the dressing room mirror, I took the jeans off the hanger and put in one leg, then the other. I pulled and pulled, but I couldn’t get them past my hips. “Ugh!” I groaned.
A saleswoman heard me and asked, “Do you need help?”
Struggling to get the pants off, I yelled back, “No, thanks!”
Finally, I peeled off the jeans and noticed that I’d worked up a sweat. The exercise in the dressing room was probably the most I’d gotten in months. Better get back to walking, I thought.
I rechecked the size on the label. It read, size 8. That had been my size for years.
Then, I took a long look in the mirror. Were those my thighs or the prosciutto that dangled from hooks in the local deli?
“How did this happen?” I said out loud.
But then all of the times I’d said yes came to me.
“Yes, I’ll have a second slice of pizza.”
“Yes, I’ll have some more pasta.”
Another piece of cheesecake? “Yes, certainly yes!”
“More drinks, more wine?”
A dressing room epiphany, for sure.
Disgusted, I didn’t bother trying on the blouses. I left with a resolve to say no more often.
When I got home, my husband, Louie, was sitting on the couch watching television. I stepped in front of the TV and said, “Why didn’t you tell me I got fat?”
“What are you talking about?” he said with a blank expression. “You’re not fat.”
“I’m not eating tonight,” I yelled.
My husband replied, “I made a dough for pizza, and there’s fresh mozzarella.”
The idea of fresh mozzarella made me whimper, but I raced upstairs to weigh myself. The scale was under the bathroom vanity. When I pulled it out, it was dusty. I grabbed a rag from the closet and wiped it off.
Looking down, I stepped on the scale and watched as the numbers raced in the viewer. When they came to a halt, I screamed a profanity.
It was the heaviest I’d ever been. Despite getting on and off the scale several times, the number didn’t change.
I decided to go for a walk. After about 40 minutes, I returned home. As I opened the door, the sweet scent of basil and tomato sauce hit me and made me salivate. I stepped into the kitchen.
“Good, you’re back. The pizza can go in the oven,” Louie said.
Sitting on top of the stove was gorgeous, freshly made dough with bright red sauce, pieces of fresh cheese and basil from the garden. My husband placed the pie in the oven.
I began to set the table. The aroma almost made me drool. I thought, one slice won’t hurt.
Louie took the sizzling pie out of the oven and placed it on a wooden block on the table. After it cooled a bit, he served each of us a slice. The flavors danced on my tongue. When I finished one slice, Louie asked, “Do you want another piece?”
I almost cried as I answered, “No, thanks.”
I no-no-no’d seconds for months.
When I finally returned to the mall to try on my usual-size jeans, my thighs no longer acted like roadblocks to my pants. I smiled as I zipped them up. I proved I was able to resist temptation and win the war of woman versus food.
Then I wondered whether there was any blueberry pie left in the refrigerator. Surely I deserved a reward for losing weight — but just one piece.
Reader Jackie Minghinelli lives in Halesite.