October 2016 (Part 3)

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It was a Sunday when I realized I didn't own pants that fit anymore. My skinniest jeans quit trying halfway up my thighs, and even my roomier pairs refused to button. Karlie was working out that morning, while I'd slept in, and I only just started trying to put on real clothes around the time I expected her home, so she found me lying on the bed, crying, eight or nine pairs of pants strewn around the room, one last pair still refusing to make it past half-mast. I had already had to go up a cup size in my bras, and shirts that were supposed to button over my boobs largely didn't anymore, but this was the first time an entire class of clothing had betrayed me. I'd been trying to stay off the scale, but if I had to guess I would have put my weight at maybe sixteen or seventeen pounds over where I usually was, and apparently I'd reached the point of not being able to finesse my way into clothes a size too small anymore.

She knew right away what had happened, and I could see the wheels turning as she tried to figure out how to help me without accidentally making the situation worse. She finally decided that lying down on the bed with me and letting me cry was as good as she could do. She didn't have words to tell me because she was afraid they would sound patronizing, or offend me, so she decided not to use words at all. She listened to me whine about how nothing fit and I felt fat and I knew I shouldn't feel fat because I wasn't really, I was just fatter than usual but these goddamn pants didn't fit and I was going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe or just never leave the house because you have to wear pants to leave the house and I didn't have any pants. When I'd reached that stage of hysteria where you can't cry anymore but you kind of don't know how to stop and so you're just hiccupping and you can't breathe because although there's no more tears there are somehow gallons of snot, she grabbed me a box of tissues, pulled the offending jeans back down my legs and helped me sit up so I could try to clean up and blow my nose a gazillion times. I told her I was sorry, and it was stupid over and over, and she told me not to be and that it wasn't just as many times.

Once she thought I was stable enough, she went into the closet and pulled out about five pairs of pants, one size up from my usual, but otherwise identical to other pairs I owned. There was a horrible moment when one of those also refused to button, though it did make it past my thighs, but she had a third pair in the closet that fit perfectly, and once they were on, I didn't think it was quite so obvious they were two sizes larger. She bought me fat pants. Which ordinarily wouldn't seem like a sweet thing to do for your wife, but was, in that moment, the perfect thing. She saw this moment coming, and she planned ahead, without saying a word. I knew it didn't matter to her. She thought I was beautiful the way I was, because I was her wife and she loved who I was and all that jazz. But it was hard not to let it matter to me. I spend so much time telling my fans they're amazing the way they are, and I mean it. It's just so much harder to see myself the way I see others. I guess we all go through that, but some days it hits harder than others, and the day pants betrayed me was one of those days.

She made me brunch and asked if maybe I would go somewhere with her. The way she said it was so tentative, I thought for a moment that it was like an extra session with my therapist to discuss my body image issues or something, although I'd been keeping up with that too, though mostly over the phone – I could only take so much time in medical buildings. But that wasn't it at all. Instead, she bundled me into the car in the garage and drove out, just the two of us. A familiar car pulled in behind us as soon as we were on the road, but we had the illusion of being alone, just the two of us. She put on some music and I had to laugh, because it was all songs I loved that were maybe not so much her thing. Rap songs I knew all the words to, and had a tendency to get a little overinvolved in performing as she drove. I don't know if she timed the playlist to the minute or if she'd just been waiting for the right moment, but as we approached her family's place upstate, the music changed and instead it became sappy love songs. Stuff Ed wrote, our song, songs I'd written for her. Turning the mood from goofy and silly to very sweet and loving. As we pulled into her parents' driveway she turned to me and said, "she said let's get out of this town, drive out of the city, away from the crowd..."

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