Plain China

Fat

by Amber Eastman (August Lah) · Emerson College
Celery, Molly Kampmann · University of Virginia

Last night I had a dream that I was fat.

More than fat: crouched on the bathroom floor of my old high school, flesh hanging
heavy and pendulous. Gravity ached. Deeper and twist.

I tried to cut it all out before you saw me, drew sharp red lines on my stomach, thighs and arms, pulled them open and explored. Nothing came out even, so I kept digging. Keep digging. Scoop and repeat. 

My pudgy hands trembled. I panted through blubber lips. The floor was a red mess. I tried to mop it up with toilet paper, but it melted into red pulp. I could almost hear your footsteps in the hallway and I still wasn’t —. Deeper, repeat. Ad nauseum. 

Until your footsteps grazed a bone in my arm and your hands and voice pressed against the door. Until you pounded, my heart pounded, making everything worse. Where I wasn’t lumps I was bags of skin streaked red and fumbling hands that tried to shut gaping lips of flesh. I leaned against the door and buried my face in sticky fingers.

I’m telling you this so you know: behind the door there’s a bloody mess of vanity.

About the Author

Amber Eastman (August Lah) · Emerson College

Amber Eastman’s essay first appeared in Emerson’s journal, Gangsters in Concrete.

About the Artist

Molly Kampmann · University of Virginia

Molly Kampmann is a home-grown Florida girl who transplants herself somewhere new from time to time. She studies Glorified Problem Solving (in the form of systems engineering) at UVA, following which she will probably romp around in the woods a little bit before becoming a Real Person. She really likes to take pictures; this one first appeared in UVA’s Virginia Literary Review.