Freedom in an empty locked house. She walked over to the guest room. The full length mirror reflected a bit of the mid-morning sunlight through the window.
The thud of the towel on the hardwood floor was muffled. She eyed the now banded reflection with veiled disinterest, like one would a pack of chicken breasts at the deli. Lowering her eyes and she started from the floor.
Her feet. The pedicure with the bright red toes with white flowers on the big toe was fading. Her second toe longer, the last curved and tucked in for comfort. The thin yellow anklet throbs at her ankle. The mottled imperfect old oval scar from a past escapade. The shin, smooth and shining, a straight line across her curved calves. Strong cafe-au-lait curved bows in perfect symmetry.
Her knees. Ugh. The scars of bike rides and of the scalpels in a rushed disarray of folds and dips, resembling dark coffee mounds.
Her thighs. Light beige and mellow compared to where they took off, they were rounded and lay strong. They’d changed shape she’d noticed. Once thin, hours of fat, muscle, and exercise had now changed their course to tough. Pirouetting on her toes, she watched the the sides move in unison. A woman’s thighs, she decided: not a girl’s, not a man’s, not a child’s.
Her hips. Wincing inwardly, she placed her palms on her wide square, rounded hips. Pinching at a piece of tan flesh, she ruefully thought of how once that was impossible. It was easy now. Flesh-pinching, that is. Baby fat, just like babies never really leave the mother.
Her unique part of the body. She now turned her attention to the kangaroo pouch. Except that there was no more little roo inside, and yet the pouch hung large, scarred and useless. Stretch marks in different hues of ochre, tan, white, taupe and sepia, the oldest mingling with the most recent, signs of borne responsibilities. She grabbed the piece of flesh that lay there. It fit her palm, and more. A crescent-shaped heavy piece of extra fold. One that increased with each child, and had left behind its mark. Breathing in made it look rotten. A vestige. A rotting boat in the brackish waters. It was ugly, even to her, and it was her own. The memory of a flat belly buried within its largely bloated remnants.
Her belly button. Dark, mysterious and half open, she had flaunted with great pride. With the marks creeping to lay alongside of it as if in guard, it resembled a rusty brown keyhole. One that no key would dare come close.
Her waist. Sandy soil beach. It still curved where it should on the sides. Placing her palms on either side, she willed them to meet. A good three inches apart the fingers stood facing off throwing creamy froth between them. A long time ago, they had overlapped and thumb wars raged and tickled her innards. Twisting to her side, she observed: not a six pack, heck not even two dimensional anymore. A robust visible sandy mound that dipped from below her chest onto her belly button. A treat for clear water drops in the shower.
Her arms. Like two dark branches of burnt sienna, they stretched into little pudgy fingers. Once lissome, lean and thin, they still were, except that the elbow was just a shade darker, her muscles with just a bit of flab, and the veins on the back of her palm stood out angry. Nothing delicate anymore.
Her chest. Tired naked limp breasts hung on either side. With her palms, she coerced them into a cleavage. Dark black nipples threatened to take over the small expanse of legal fat she showed off. Push-up bras were a blessing, a necessity.
Her neck. Shielding her eyes away from the joke, she traveled further up. Faint copper wires lined her neck. Stretching it, she willed them to disappear, but as she had found out later, about fat cells and their creeping in, almost always leave behind a wake. This was the visible wake she’d have to live and sleep with.
Her lips. Once supple, light and traceable, they reeked of bitter tales. Stranded bars of dark chocolate in the afternoon sun, the lines merged and melted forming a crater of molten charcoal.
Her hair. Black, shiny and thick of the past now morphed to, coppery auburn, haggard and stringy. A sick lioness’ mane.
Finally, she meets her eyes.
Dispassionate. Flat. Hazel.