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Deborah Boydston Deborah Boydston
Recommendations: 45

Coffee Anyone?


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She had a friend.

      The room, dimly lit, was in sharp contrast to the beautiful, sunny day that lay just outside the dining room window. Perhaps it was the awning that hovered over the window, or maybe it was the atmosphere within the room that made it seem dull. Two of the three ladies, sharing coffee and conversation, had been friends for a long time.     
    
     Irene, oldest of the three and not much of a beauty herself, pointed out the window to where her neighbor was hanging laundry. “Ramona you remember Gracie don’t you? Well if you thought she was fat before you should take a look now.”
   
     Irene had a shapeless, slender build with shoulders that were slightly slouched. Her short, dark, curly hair framed her wrinkled face and made her look slightly older than 45. Irene was not ugly, she was just plain.
    
     Ramona, slightly younger at 42, was quite the opposite. She looked five to ten years younger than she was. She had nice curves, a smooth complexion and shoulder length auburn hair.
    
     “Oh my, how dreadful, that is so embarrassing. How much would you say she weighs?” Ramona asked.
    
     Refreshing our coffee Irene ventured a guess, “I’d say somewhere between two hundred and two twenty-five.”  
     
     Gracie was oblivious to the three ladies watching her out of the dining room window. She seemed genuinely happy to be about her task, enjoying the sunny outdoors, and minding her own business. Irene stepped out the back door to call in the dog, and Gracie turned to smile and wave at her.
    
     Most of the time Irene was extremely fun to be around because of her great sense of humor. However, today her humor seemed ugly and sour. She and Ramona began exchanging crude comments, horrid fat jokes, and rumors they had heard about Gracie. They speculated on how her children would turn out, how awful sex would be with someone that size, and the difficulty it would be shopping for new clothes. Both friends hooted and laughed at the at the expense of the fat lady next door.
    
     Suddenly it had dawned on the two ladies that their third companion, Chelsea, had been awfully quiet most of the morning.
    
     Chelsea, 29 years old, did not have much to say and was not in the habit of joining a conversation just to be a part of the crowd. She had a slight but polite smile and her blue eyes expressed empathy as she watched Gracie.
    
     Irene and Ramona began to press Chelsea as to what was on her mind. Finally Chelsea smiled sadly at her friends and with compassion in her voice replied, “I was just wondering if Gracie’s heart broke like ours. If she felt joy when good things happened or cried when disaster fell. How does she love her children? They always look happy when Gracie is around. You know I’ve seen her together with her slightly thinner husband in the park talking, holding hands, laughing, and walking. They look like they are so in love. I was wondering if she felt hurt because people shunned her over her weight, or talked behind her back as if she were devoid of feelings. Does anyone take the time to get to know her? Do either of you know her?”
     
     After a few minutes of silence Chelsea pressed on, “You know what else I was wondering?”
    
     Both ladies watched Chelsea with a quiet, shamed expression as she answered her own question. “I was just wondering if Gracie would like to come have coffee.”


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