Dean Johnson was the most popular boy in my class. D.J. had this brown, wavy hair and sea blue eyes. In school, I wasn’t the only one who sighed when he walked by. He had quite the following. He had just the right amount of muscles to be attractive, but not enough to be freakish. I had a mad crush on him, daydreaming it was me that he came to see each night. He was everything I wanted. He had it all, but there was just one little problem; he was already Tania’s boyfriend.
They dated for a couple of years. It wasn’t bad enough that I had to see him in school because we were in the same grade, but I had to see him at my house too! He was there for holidays, family dinners, cookouts, and family vacations. He was over all the time. Listening to my family play the when Tania and Dean get married game was a little more than I could handle at times.
I prayed they would break up so I didn’t have to sit there and try not to stare at him. I looked away many times. I tried to focus on the food, the furniture, whoever was talking at the time, but my eyes betrayed me and drifted back to stare at him. That was one reason I put on so much weight. It was easier to concentrate on eating as opposed to staring a hole at him, making it obvious that I was head over heels in love.
After dinner, he and Tania sat outside on the porch swing, snuggling while I escaped back into the house. It never failed, no matter how cold or hot it was, Tania was freezing. She looked at him with those big blue eyes and whimpered about being chilly. He’d slide over, wrapping his arms around her. They usually sat with their heads close together, counting the stars or just making out.
I was an experienced peeping tom. Upstairs, in the room we shared together, I turned the lights off, had the window cracked, and got in position. There was a dresser in front of the window. I had to lay across the top, with my head turned, so I could get my ear close enough to the window to hear. I was in my usual eavesdropping position and I was ready, but not ready for what came next.
“You want me to find a date for the great white whale? I couldn’t find anyone to help me push her back in the water after she beached herself!”
But I wasn’t ready for that.
Tania laughed. “You’re mean! Stop that. That’s my sister you’re talkin’ about.”
“Don’t give me that shit! You made up the nickname, so you know it’s true.”
“Yes, but ya don’t have to say it out loud! She might hear!”
He laughed. “Good! Then maybe she won’t be hanging off my dick while I eat dinner!”
Great white whale…
My heart shattered into a million pieces. I first saw D.J. in Kindergarten, where I fell in love with him, swooning every time he walked by. As the years flew by, when he happened to say anything at all to me, it just made my day. Even something as innocent as, “move it, Hanover.”
Hearing that it was my sister, my best friend, who created that horrible nickname was more devastating than him agreeing. It forever changed my thoughts on him. That night, I moved my things out of Tania’s room and turned the den, which was as big as a walk-in closet, into my room. I no longer wanted anything to do with him or Tania.
When he was over, I ate my meals in my room claiming I had a lot of homework. My parents questioned why all the changes, but I was too embarrassed to tell them. Tania didn’t notice that I wanted nothing to do with her because she was so caught up with herself, loving the fact that she had the room all to herself. She never realized anything happening around her that didn’t involve her.
Shortly after that, everyone was calling me the great white whale in school. I laughed it off on the outside, but on the inside, I cried. I felt like my world had come crashing down around me. That one statement kept me in my clothes for the rest of the year. I didn’t go anywhere but school. When my family went places, I stayed home. I told them that I had a big project due and wanted to work on it. It wasn’t exactly a lie. I was going to lose the weight and make everyone eat their words. That was my school project.
I couldn’t hang out with any of my friends. What if they thought the same thing and were whispering those three words behind my back? That would be devastating. I had a horrible feeling that they thought the same thing about me. It would explain why they were never around during certain, more crowded times. They didn’t want to be seen with me. It was why I ate alone in the cafeteria. Everyone always kissed Tania and D.J.’s ass and no doubt they all followed their orders just to be noticed. The whole school mimicked their every action.
Summer vacation was everyone’s favorite time! While they were all out soaking up the sun’s rays at the beach, I danced in the basement until there was so much sweat dripping off me, you’d think I just got out of the shower. I exercised until I was so sore that I needed to sit in a cold bathtub. I walked through the woods, hiking up paths that were steep enough to be a partial mountain, and then I ran back down when it got dark, imagining something chasing me. In my mind, there was a great white whale after me that made Jaws look like a minnow. If I let it catch me, it would swallow me whole and I would disappear.
All my hard work paid off. When I went to school the next year, I was half the girl. I lost the excess blubber and actually looked good. Granted, I had to go and get a new wardrobe, but my mother was so proud of me that she sprung for a whole new set of clothes and shoes. When you’re bigger than the average teenager, there aren’t very many pretty clothes that fit right. I no longer had that problem. However, I could still hear that name in the back of my mind. It kept me away from eating anything sweet that looked too good to eat.
Tania was my younger sister. She was also the homecoming queen, the most popular girl in school, and the party princess. She was a live by the moment type of girl who didn’t worry about the consequences of her actions. She did what she wanted and only cared about her happiness, no matter who she hurt to get it. She barely graduated high school. There was more than one night that I helped her study, tutoring her to make sure she at least got her diploma; it was something my mother guilted me into.
I didn’t care about all that.
I had one problem with her. She was gorgeous with naturally blonde hair, blue eyes, and an hourglass shape that drove men insane. They did the craziest things just to get her attention. She was charming enough to get the rattle off a snake and not get bitten. She was athletic and loved it when the boys chased her around and only slowed down when she wanted to be caught. She was the perfect girl.
Okay, so maybe it was more than one thing.
I didn’t understand how she stayed so trim either. She ate anything and everything she wanted. My mother made a birthday cake and Tania ate half of it before any of us got one piece and never gained a pound. How does anyone do that and why can’t they bottle that up and sell it on the shelves? Guaranteed to be a sellout!
After I lost the weight, I worked hard to keep it off. I stopped eating junk food and instead ate salads. I stopped eating candy bars and chocolate snacks and ate veggie strips. I developed a love for rice cake snacks and popcorn. I perfected my body, and though it would never match Tania’s natural shape, I looked pretty good. My blue eyes accented my brown hair and made both stand out.
Everyone knew how Tania was. I watched as women put their husband/boyfriend on a short leash when she was around. Those men weren’t allowed anywhere close to Tania. If one did venture near, it was like an alarm sounded. One or all of the women descended on that man as if he was raw meat and they were a pack of hungry wolves, steering him clear of her.
If I had any sense in my head, I would’ve reacted the same way, but I trusted her. That proved to be a mistake on more than one occasion.
I had finally gotten a boyfriend. After losing the weight, I had many guys who looked at me differently. I was really excited about it. I fell hard for him.
My father said, “it’s because ya never had a boyfriend before. He’s not all that. He’s just a boy.”
Then again, he was my boy.
In school, he met me when the bell sounded, standing outside the door of my classroom. We kissed each other hello and then he carried my books for me to my next class. Before the bell sounded, we made out in the hall. I barely made it to mine on time, so I know he was late to his. He was everything I wanted, or at least I thought he was.
The school was having a dance and they were going to judge couples and pick a winner. I never went to any of them so this was a real treat for me. I was going to finally see what all the excitement was about. The grand prize was like one-hundred CD’s of music for the winning pair to pick from. I was really excited! Having danced all summer, I had a few ideas on what would make us a guaranteed winner.
He came home with me for about a week and I taught him the routine. He liked it and added a few of his own moves. We took the time and before long, we were definitely going to win this thing because our dance was that good. We laughed and joked around and he hung on every word I said. We had our little make-out sessions too. I thought for sure he was the one. He was going to be my high school sweetheart who I married after graduation. We would have a couple of kids, a dog, a mortgage and a car payment and be happy.
Usually, we worked on our routine while Tania was at cheerleading practice. She came home early one day because of a fight with her boyfriend. Me and my boyfriend were putting the finishing touches on our dance. I noticed her watching us from the stairs. I prayed she didn’t come down.
Right after he said he had to go home because he had things to do, she came down the remaining stairs. She looked like she was auditioning for a belly dancing part as much as she shook her ass and sashayed her hips. She ranted and raved about what a good dancer he was.
She looked between us, “I’m not interruptin’ anythin’, am I?”
“This? No. We’re just friends,” he quickly responded, eyeing her up and down.
Wow… really? He quickly joined D.J. in the ranks of losers.
I felt my heart breaking into a million pieces. When she asked if he could show her a few of his moves. he was lost forever. So much for him having something to do! He didn’t even break up with me, claiming we were just friends. I couldn’t believe him! I wasn’t in the habit of making out with my friends! To add insult to injury, the two of them won the dance contest using my routine while I stayed home, crying in my pillow.
Revenge is sweet, so sayeth the Lord. After they won, she dumped him like a bad habit and he came crawling back to me. I got the pleasure of telling him, “We were friends, but not anymore.”