Beneath this aging exterior beats the heart of once lovely woman who is now marred by body changes and also saddened by the separation of mind and memory. So what if I have a beautiful pancreas. No one is going to see it. They are going to see fleshy folds and my minds meandering. It’s hard having confidence with the skin I’m in when a mirror is calling attention to obvious deficiencies. It’s an image meant to move well beyond the initial gaze and stay embedded in my brain. Quite noticeably, sugary confections have been my drugs of choice. I’d like to personally thank Ben & Jerry for the lasting results from their every lovin’ scoopful.

When drying off after a shower, I am forced to view the magnitude of transitions in my reflection. I do this only in the dark because once those lights are on, my image appears much more distinctly and flabby furrows mysteriously form making my very own coffee cup holders. During modes of presentation, I also find that my frontal mounds can no longer serve as a sturdy place where birds can come to build their nests. They have clearly fallen and cannot get up. Heartbreak and onions aren’t the only things that make me cry. I usually turn away and run like I’m wearing red and just saw a bull. Cemented in my heart is a cavernous, alarm-initiating inconfidence that God would never let me look like this. Every day I perform the rousing rendition, Oh where oh where can my body be? The Lord took it away from me! I hate to pass any kind of acumen onto our almighty creator. After all, He made me. He just didn’t need to supersize my thighs and diminish my memory the minute I turned sixty.

As soon as I have my steaming cup of morning plasma I attempt to dress, forcing my legs into pants by squatting five times and feeling the seizure in my back as I struggle to pull them up. Sometimes I can’t trust the wood flooring when I slip in my socks, only to fall and ask myself two days later, “What caused these bruises?” I’ve been known to put my bra on inside out and have gotten very good at opening child proof caps with a crowbar. Sometimes I ponder on thoughts that might make me cheerful, like calling Pakistani officials to talk about suicide. They would probably tell me to start brandishing some sort of annihilating weapon. If any weapon can wipe out wrinkles, it just might deserve deep consideration.

In public, I don’t think much about all this physique stuff unless of I run into someone who is ridiculously good looking. It happens a lot at the beach when I’m seeing naked bodies, those younger sites of imagined sin. My bod is no longer a vessel of sexual pleasure, turned instead into a port of judgment and suffering. Every woman wants to be babelicious. Not have jiggling jello and assorted visages of flesh pouring out of our Maidenforms. There are a zillion pygmy bikinis out there that make me go into self-loathing. Exposure to thongy swimwear causes sudden outbursts of angst and spontaneous hiding of flabbiness with a beach towel. Not to mention what damages the optic nerves. The only way to get my boobs that high again would be to tie helium balloons to my nipples, or have permanent shelving attached underneath to hoist them up. Home Depot should stock something for such womanly needs. I mean how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck bosomwood? Then I wouldn’t be ignored wandering through the vast cluster of cheeky sandlubbers. There was a time when I sat in the sand wrinkle free. I didn’t have to spend ten minutes contouring my cheeks with blush to look young like a sun baked beauty. And I surely didn’t need a pound of concealer. Now I’m considering a closed casket so people don’t stand and stare at my eyebrows thinking I had a lighter fluid accident.

As my boobs stand now, subjection can lead to immediate evacuation to my wine decanter, that serviceable substitute for whatever ails me. I do this right before and after such unpleasant stimulus. Of course there’s always that impression that I might have a drinking problem as well. I cannot promise what my hands will do after I’ve had a few and I drive my car into a building full of skin care specialists who promise to stop the aging process with all their overpriced products. I worry about the future, wondering if I will use the common utterance of crassness in conversations or wander off during a full moon. Let me point out that moon phases affect human behavior and the body holds roughly sixty percent water. My bladder started rumbling the minute I began writing this. I suppose I should manage those few pints of vino I consume each night. Although it’s something that has way more credence than tap water, for hydration and sanity. If the moon can affect ocean tides and causes bulges in the earth’s crust, surely it affects people. You’ll know it’s affect on me when I walk the streets carrying my precious cargo of cabernet, or run off with a mariachi band.

Since just about everyone except my baby granddaughter has a tattoo, I could rationalize staying young by having something branded on my backside. I have already endured other pains in the ass so why not beautiful flowers and colorfully etched words? Or have Shamu spread considerably across the surface of my hiney since behemoths are bloating entities as well. I might pay the guy a little extra for a lovely bum massage. But if he says, “Nah, I’m good,” it could lead to another psychotic mood swing.

I know I can’t go around moping for the rest of my life. Meanwhile, my value is determined by how much terror I can endure. I can either go into a state of stony withdrawal, or go to the beach and make myself useful. I’m sure there are those prettyful babes who will need someone to scare away starers and hold drinks for them. I’ve got just the flesh carved out for such practicality. And just so you know, I can go from being depressed to livening up a crowd in about three minutes. It’s been a rough couple of years admitting the truth about my torso. But at least I’m not taking my teeth out and leaving them on the nightstand quite yet.

One thought on “EXPOSURE

  1. Very clever, amusing and, at the same time, woefully sad but true. Many of us can relate.

    My midriff has been home to a Shar-pei for a few years now. Where did that sad-sack little dog come from? Why won’t he go away?

    My daughter-in-love recently asked me what plastic surgery I would want– “All of it!” was my honest response.

    Keep up the good work, Patty. Your view on life is unique and precious.

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