Thick And Thin
In five minutes, I see her. I cast my thoughts back to the car rides home every afternoon, back when her clothes still fit. The jam and cream scones set out on the back table. I trace my fingers along the sun-bleached table that hasn’t seen her favourite china plate in years. I close my eyes and picture her brunette curls, the ones I gave her. The only part of her I still recognise. I stand up and wander to the kitchen, glancing at my watch as I go.
In four minutes, I see her. There is a scrap of black thread on the kitchen counter. I pick it up and twist it between my pin-pricked fingers. She hated the way the black clashed with the cheery yellow of her dress as I took it in to fit her thinning frame. In the microwave door, I catch a glimpse of my green eyes as tears spill down my cheeks. I quickly turn away and wipe my cheeks with my hands. Now is not the time to be crying.
In three minutes, I see her. I stroll past her room, stopping to stare at myself in the full-body mirror at the end of the hall. I’ve gained a little weight in my old age. My heart sinks. In a way, it’s my fault she thought of herself the way she did. She probably noticed my tears as I struggled to button up new jeans while she was busy deciding which shade of purple she would wear to school. My strict diet as I desperately tried to fit the clothes that were supposed to fit me.
In two minutes… I see her. I sit on her bed and see the tape measure and the diet pills on her bed. I see her savings jar on her bedside table. I pick it up and feel a sense of pride at the weight of it, until I see the label ‘XXS Clothes Savings’. Shaking, I peel the sticker off. It rips halfway, leaving the word ‘Savings’ on it. My eyes creep to the corner of the room, where a basket full of neatly folded clothes sits. Her favourite yellow sundress sits on top with a sticky note reading ‘Too big’. It’s size ‘1 Small’.
In one minute… I see her. A picture of us pokes out from underneath her pillow. It’s from a year ago. I notice that her bright green shirt is a little baggy, the sleeves falling just short of her slender hands. It’s easy to notice it now when it’s too late. On the back in heavy black Sharpie, her handwriting sweeps and loops beautifully. Light footsteps approach. In the corner of my eye, brunette curls approach.
I see her. With tears in my eyes and a shaking voice, we read her message on the back.
There through thick and thin.