Home > All Fall Down(13)

All Fall Down(13)
Author: Jennifer Weiner

I should exercise, I told myself. The day after Ellie’s doctor’s appointment the fact-checker had called me and said the story about Ladiesroom would show up today on the Wall Street Journal’s website, and would be in the printed paper tomorrow. I’d told Dave it was coming, but we’d barely discussed it. I didn’t want him to think I was bragging, or that I was drawing a distinction between us—Dave, who wrote stories, and me, who had somehow become one of the written-about. Dave hadn’t noticed my nerves, how I’d picked at my dinner and been awake most of the night, worrying that the picture would be terrible and that the world, and everyone I knew in it, would wake up and bear witness to precisely how many chins I actually had.

Lying underneath the down comforter, I touched my hips, feeling the spread, then moved my hands up to the jiggly flesh of my belly. My waistline had been the only thing that kept me from resembling a teapot in profile, but, unfortunately, it had never really reappeared in the months, then years, after Ellie’s birth. I’d always told myself that I’d get around to losing the baby weight when things calmed down, but that had never happened, and the baby was now almost six.

I could see Ellie’s eyes moving underneath her lavender eyelids, and then Dave, with his pillow in his hands, dressed in pajamas that he wore buttoned to his chin, creeping into the room. Quickly, I shut my eyes so he’d think I was still asleep and we wouldn’t have to talk. It had been like this for longer than I liked to think about—every night he’d sleep in the guest room, and every morning he’d come tiptoeing back to the marital bed, the reverse of a teenage boy sneaking out through his beloved’s window. The idea was that when Ellie woke up and came to greet us, she’d see a happy couple, not two people who communicated mostly through texts about picking up milk and putting out the recycling. The good news was, Ellie generally showed up in the middle of the night, half-asleep and not in a position to notice anything.

Dave settled himself on the far side of the bed, arranging his pillows just so. I turned on my side, remembering how it had been when we’d first moved in together, how his first act after waking would be to spoon me, his chest tight against my back, his legs cupping mine, how he’d scratch his deliciously stubbled cheeks against the back of my neck and whisper that it couldn’t be morning, it was still early, we didn’t have to move, not yet. These days, he was more likely to open his eyes and fling himself, facedown, to the carpet for a quick set of planks and pushups before his run.

I opened my eyes and considered the clothes I’d left folded on the dresser: Lululemon yoga pants and an Athleta tank top in a pretty shade of pink, with my sneakers and a running bra and a pristine pair of white ankle socks beside them. All good, except I’d laid out the shoes and the clothes on Sunday night, and it was now Thursday morning, and all I’d done with the cute outfit was admire it from the safe remove of my bed.

Five more minutes, I decided, then reached for my cell phone, scanning my e-mail. As usual, Sarah had been up for hours. “pos col?” she’d asked—Sarah-ese for “possible column”—in a message sent an hour earlier that linked to the Twitter feed of a prominent comic-book creator. When asked how to write strong female characters, he’d answered, “Be sure not to give them weenies.” “So transwomen are out?” one of his followers had shot back, touching off a lengthy debate about biology and genitals and who qualified as female. Among her “pos col” contenders, Sarah had also included an update on the trial of the celebrity chef being sued by her (male) assistant for sexual harassment, and a profile of the showrunner of an Emmy Award–winning soap opera.

I considered clicking over to the Journal, but decided to wait. The story probably wasn’t up yet. I’d get in a workout—maybe thirty minutes on the treadmill, instead of the forty-five I’d been shooting for, but still, better than nothing—and then, with endorphins pumping through my body, giving me a lovely post-exercise high, I’d read the story. And look at the picture. If it was terrible, I’d use it as motivation. I’d print it out, tape it to the refrigerator and to the treadmill. It would be my “Before” shot. All the moms in the carpool lane would tell me how fantastic I looked, how together I had it, after three months, or six months, or however long it took me to lose twenty pounds and maybe get some Botox.

Eloise muttered in her sleep, then rolled over and opened her eyes.

“Good morning, beautiful,” I said.

She yawned, eyelashes fluttering, arms stretching over her head. “Mommy, there’s somefing I need to tell you.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology