Graduation Night, continued.....

After Adam ate Brynne out, they ate dinner and Brynne spent the night at Adam’s apartment since it was Friday night. It all seemed to be moving a little bit fast, but Brynne seemed very smitten with him and he had to admit he was deeply attracted to her. It was very frustrating that he hadn’t been able to get it up with her yet, but he convinced himself that sex was just a doctor’s appointment away. Once he got more medication, he’d have no problem performing for her. In the meantime, she seemed fairly happy with being eaten out.

Brynne cooked them French toast for breakfast, after teasing Adam that he could stand to gain some weight. He watched her in the kitchen, cooking his food wearing one of his shirts as a sort of nightgown. She was so beautiful. How was it that she could like him?

After breakfast, Brynne had some errands to run, so she took off. Not fifteen minutes after she left, Adam’s doorbell rang again and he thought she had left something behind, but instead he saw a boy in his early teens standing at the door.

“May I help you?” Adam asked the boy. The boy didn’t look like a hoodlum or anything. He was well-dressed, with hair cut short and glasses.

“Hi, my name is Brad,” the boy said. “My family lives upstairs in apartment 16N. The reason I’m coming around is that we got word the apartment building is going to be converted to Co-op and we wanted to take action to keep this from happening.”

“Oh, definitely,” Adam said. He didn’t want to buy this apartment, but he didn’t want to move either. “What do you need?”

“Can I come in?” the boy Brad asked.

Adam wheeled back to allow Brad room to step into the apartment. As the door closed behind him, Brad quickly turned the lock closed and stood blocking the exit. Adam felt his heart speed up and he turned his chair to wheel toward the phone. Brad reached for Adam’s arm, but he was a puny kid and Adam wrenched free of him easily.

Brad grabbed a fistful of Adam’s shirt and yanked him forward with all his strength. Even though Brad wasn’t strong, Adam was relatively light and it was enough to throw him off balance. He found himself hurled out of his wheelchair, onto his belly on the floor. The surprise of the impact knocked the wind out him and he didn’t have a chance to react before Brad pushed his wheelchair out of his reach.

Adam struggled to turn himself onto his back. He looked up at the kid, who was standing over him. To Adam’s surprise, Brad didn’t look menacing at all. He looked, in fact, scared shitless.

“What do you want?” Adam said.

“I didn’t want to hurt you,” the kid said quietly. “I’m sorry... I just... panicked.”

“Can I have my chair back then?” Adam said.

Brad shook his head. “Not until you hear me out.”

“I guess I don’t have a choice, do I?” Adam muttered. He felt angry that this skinny fifteen year old kid was able to get the better of him so easily. It made him feel helpless.

“My name is Brad Richards,” the kid said. “Shannon was my mom. The one you killed.”

Adam closed his eyes and dropped his head back against the floor. “You’re the one who’s been sending the letters.”

Brad shook his head. “No, it wasn’t me.”

“Yeah, right.”

“I swear.” Brad bit his lip. “Look, I’m not that kind of person, I’m really not. But I know about it. And I also know that my dad called you and asked you to testify against your friend.”


“I think you should do it,” Brad said. “If Roger Jacobson is the one responsible, he should pay for it. And he will pay for it. You’re not doing him any favors right now.”

Adam looked into Brad’s dark eyes and saw that the boy was very serious. “What are you going to do if I don’t testify?”

“Me?” Brad shrugged. “I won’t do anything. But there are people out there who want your friend to burn. And if you don’t help, you’re going to go down too.”

Adam frowned. “I don’t appreciate threats.”

“It’s not a threat,” Brad said. “I have no control over it. But there’s someone unstable out there, who wants to avenge my mother’s death. Believe me, the best thing that could happen to Roger Jacobson right now is to lose all his money in a civil suit. You really should consider it.”

With those words, Brad Richards turned and unlocked the door to the apartment. He opened the door and then simply walked out, like nothing had happened.

Adam let out a long breath. He looked down at his hands and saw they were shaking. It was so dumb of him to let a stranger inside while he was getting these threats, but the kid had looked so harmless. Also, he didn’t like to think of himself as a vulnerable person, one who had to protect himself from 98-pound weakling. But clearly this incident had shown he had to be more careful.

As much as he hated to admit it, the police had been right when they said he was more of a target because he depended on a wheelchair. Roger was the driver in that accident, but he wasn’t the one getting threats right now. Even Roger could have overpowered that kid.

Adam looked over at where Brad had pushed his chair and saw that one of the small wheels had wedged itself under the couch. He groaned. That had happened to him once before and it was a pain in the ass to get free. Adam cursed and began pulling himself along the floor toward his chair.

Adam leaned against the couch and examined the wheel from his position on the floor. He tried to wrench it free, but it wouldn’t give. He couldn’t be too rough, or else he might break the wheel altogether and then he’d really be screwed.

Suddenly, a loud knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. He looked up sharply. “Adam, are you all right?”

Adam breathed a sigh of relief. It was Pearl Jenson, his elderly next door neighbor. He saw the doorknob turn and Pearl’s face, looking fairly younger than her seventy years, peered inside. “Adam, sorry to bother you, but I heard a loud noise and your door was unlocked...” Her eyes widened. “Oh Adam dear, you’re on the floor! What happened?”

“Nothing, I’m fine,” Adam said quickly. He tried to pull himself onto the couch, but somehow slipped and fell back against the floor. Pearl was nice enough, but he could do without the sympathy of his seventy-year-old neighbor.

But Pearl, a grandmother times eight, would hear none of his excuses. She rushed inside the apartment, her brow furrowed. “Do you need help? Should I call an ambulance?”

An ambulance? Jesus Christ! “I’m fine, I really am,” Adam said. Pearl Jenson chose to believe that based on the fact that Adam used a wheelchair, he must be an invalid. This ideology caused Pearl to come by frequently with homemade dinners for Adam, since she couldn’t imagine how he could get food on his own.

Pearl was no idiot, however, and she quickly figured out what was going on. “Oh my, you’re stuck!”

“It’s no big deal,” Adam told her. “I’ll get it loose.”

“Let me help you,” Pearl insisted.

Adam groaned inwardly, but he reluctantly agreed to allow Pearl to help. Between the two of them, they managed to get his wheel loose in a matter of ten minutes. Adam gratefully pulled his limp lower body into his chair.

“Now aren’t you glad I came by to help you?” Pearl asked, pleased with herself.

It was hard enough to face up to the fact that a fifteen year old kid had thrown him from his chair, and harder to admit that he needed the help of an elderly woman to get back in. But Adam didn’t want to be rude, so he said, “Yeah, thanks a lot, Pearl. You really helped me out.”

“Soon you won’t need my help,” Pearl declared. “I read an article in the Science Times yesterday that said a cure for spinal cord injuries is just around the corner.”

“Around the corner?”

“It said most likely within twenty years,” Pearl’s eyes twinkled. “Isn’t that wonderful? You’ll be able to walk again.”

Adam tried not to roll his eyes. He remembered how at his trial, the doctor had said there was a chance he’d walk again in thirty or forty years. Now it seemed like there was a possibility that a cure might come in that amount of time. Theoretically, in twenty years, when he was rounding age fifty, there might be a surgery that would allow him to take steps again with his own two feet. As a middle aged man, he’d be able to walk again for the first time.

Of course, Adam knew this was bullshit. It sounded good on paper, but after eleven years, he knew the score. Even if someone could somehow restore those lost connections in his spinal cord, the connections in his brain were now lost. He couldn’t even remember what it was like to walk. He didn’t know how anymore.

And even if that wasn’t the case, Adam’s legs were no longer in any shape to be walked on. Eleven years of disuse had left his legs two brittle sticks. There was no way they could support the weight of his body anymore. If a cure came, it would only help those who were newly injured. It would be of no use to an old cripple like him.

But fuck it, Adam was used to life this way. He had completely adjusted to life in a wheelchair, and it had gotten to the point where he couldn’t imagine his life any other way. The only time he ever thought about his able-bodied former self was when pieces of his past came back to haunt him...

Like Maggie.

As Pearl droned on about this and that, Adam allowed his mind to wander to Maggie. He wondered what she was doing right now. He decided that as soon as he was able to get rid of Pearl, he would give her another call.


“Hi... Maggie?”

“Hi, Adam.”

“Wow, you recognized my voice...”

“Yes, well... we’ve talked on the phone a lot over the years, haven’t we?”

“But I figured after ten years...”

“You still sound the same.”

“I do? So do you.”

“So how was your date, Adam?”

“It was okay. But I wouldn’t have enjoyed it more if I had been talking to you.”

“I don’t think your date would have appreciated that.”

“Nah, she wouldn’t have minded.”

“Oh, really? Who is this lucky woman?”

“It’s... not really important. She’s nobody.”

“Nobody? But you went out with her.”

“Yeah, but... only because you wouldn’t talk to me...”

“How long have you been dating her?”

“Not long. Like, a week.”

“I’m surprised at you, Adam. I always thought you would fall head over heels for some girl and get hitched before the end of college.”


“Well, you were crazy about me in high school, weren’t you? I figured after you got over me, you’d move on to someone else and she’d surely fall for your charms and that would be the end of it.”

“Interesting theory. Nope, it never happened.”


“Maybe I never got over you...”

“Ten years is a long time to have a crush.”

“Yeah, it is, isn’t it? So how about you, Mags?”

“What about me?”

“Any, uh... special significant others in your life?”

“Not really.”

“Not giving any of those guys pursuing you a break? You’re such a cocktease, Maggie. As usual.”

“There’s no one pursuing me.”

“Ha. Yeah, right.”

“Believe what you want, Adam.”

“Okay, I will. And I believe you’re lying through your teeth just so I won’t get jealous.”

“I have to lie. Remember Derek couldn’t eat for a week after you punched him in the stomach?”

“Heh, yeah, that was great. I’m glad I could do that for you, Maggie.”

“I couldn’t stop you!”

“Yeah, well... I can’t do anything like that anymore...”


“Listen, Maggie... you know that... you know that I use a wheelchair now, right?”

“I... I assumed you still did, yes.”

“Okay... I just... I wanted to make sure you knew. I mean, I’m not really the same as I was... back then.”

“You sound the same.”

“I know, but... Maggie, it’s been hard...”

“Adam, I...”

“I don’t even know if I would want you to see me like this...”

“Adam... Adam, it’s all right. Don’t cry, please.”

“I’m not. I mean, I’m fine.”

“You don’t sound fine.”

“No, I am. Really. It’s just that... talking to you like this after all this time... it makes me remember the way things used to be.”

“I know...”

“But I still want to talk to you.”

“Me too.”

“Look, I’m sorry I got all emotional. Can we pretend that I didn’t just break down like an idiot?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Okay. Okay, good. So how was your day, Maggie?


Adam made an appointment with his urologist, Dr. Meyer. His inability to have an erection with Brynne was weighing heavily on his mind, and he thought the doctor might give him a prescription to help him out. Fortunately, Dr. Meyer was always willing to see Adam right away when he needed it.

Adam’s initial experience with Dr. Firth had soured him on urologists and he avoided them for as long as he could. Then during the last year of college, he had a urinary tract infection that got out of hand and sent him in the ICU for a week. He was so sick, they were worried he might die. After that experience, Adam knew he had to start taking better care of himself.

Adam had started seeing Dr. Meyer shortly after graduating from college and he believed he couldn’t possibly find another doctor who was better. Meyer only had a few paraplegic patients, but he seemed very adept at handling Adam’s medical problems. More than that, he was compassionate. Adam felt like he could tell the doctor about his sexual difficulties without feeling embarrassed. Meyer never acted like paraplegics shouldn’t be able to have sex. In some ways, Meyer was part urologist and part psychiatrist.

Meyer shared a practice with two other doctors. When Adam got out to the waiting room, he saw that it was packed with patients. It looked like it was going to be a long wait. The people waiting were mostly older man, probably there to have their prostates checked. Adam was the youngest person there by about twenty years.

He wasn’t the only person there in a wheelchair. He recognized John Woodside, a paraplegic in his late fifties who saw one of the other doctors who shared the office. Adam was at the office frequently, because he showed up when he had even the slightest sign of a fever, and John was the same way. But John, being older, had a lot more health problems to worry about.

“Hey, Adam,” John said cheerfully when he wheeled in. “What’s going on?”

Adam wheeled over to John, but the truth was, John gave him the chills. Adam felt bad about it, because John was such a friendly guy. But John was a reminder of what might happen to him in thirty years and it was frightening. Adam didn’t know the full extent of John’s health problems, but he knew he was a diabetic with bad kidneys who lived in a nursing home full time because he couldn’t take care of himself anymore. John had been injured when he was fourteen, only four years younger than Adam had been.

“Not too much,” Adam replied, parking his chair next to John. John’s nurse smiled at him.

“I haven’t seen you here in a while,” John said. “That’s a good thing, I guess.”

Adam had a regularly scheduled appointment with Meyer every three months. The last time he had seen John here was almost a year ago. Adam had come in because he was feeling a little hot and lethargic, and Meyer had him sent to the hospital to be admitted. Although Adam hated being in the hospital, he knew Meyer wasn’t an alarmist and only sent him there when he needed to go.

“I finally got that colostomy,” John said.

Adam remembered John talking about the possibility getting a colostomy last time he was here. While Adam couldn’t seem to put on weight since his accident, John was fairly obese and had a number of pressure ulcers that weren’t healing. His bowel regimen was becoming almost impossible and he thought having a colostomy bag on his abdomen would be easier. Adam couldn’t imagine having a bowel regimen so difficult, you’d prefer a bag. It was bad enough having the urine bag.

“Oh yeah? How is it?” Adam asked.

“Much easier,” John said. “Believe me, in ten or fifteen years, you might want to consider it. It’s a lifesaver.”

Adam shivered. He was only 29, but he knew that as a paraplegic his body would age faster than an able-bodied person. Who knew what sort of shape he’d be in by the time he was John’s age? He looked down at John’s legs, which looked like tiny little twigs compared to his obese torso. I don’t want to be like that, Adam thought desperately.

Fortunately, after only twenty minutes, Meyer’s nurse, a plump middle-aged woman named Magda, called Adam’s name. He wheeled past all the old men in the waiting room, who would have been envious of him for being chosen if they didn’t feel sorry for him because he was a young guy bound to a wheelchair.

Magda’s face broke out into a smile when she saw Adam. “How have you been, Magda?” Adam said.

Magda nodded. “Oh, not bad. My son just started high school last week.”

“Already?” Adam remembered meeting Magda’s son when he was only eight years old. It was hard to believe he had been coming to see Dr. Meyer for so long.

“Time flies, doesn’t it?” Magda said. “How about you? Are you seeing any nice girls?”

Adam laughed. “No, I haven’t been so lucky, unfortunately.”

Magda winked. “I might have someone for you.”

Adam’s eyes widened, but he didn’t inquire further. Magda was always trying to give him phone numbers of eligible young women she knew, but he never accepted. He would have thought she’d give up by now, but Magda liked him too much to let him stay single.

Magda led him into Dr. Meyer’s examining room. She handed him a gown. “You know what to do,” she said. “I’ll come back to get a urine sample.”

Adam began the slow process of changing into the gown. He lifted his feet one by one and pulled off the sneakers he was wearing. He took his socks off too, because Dr. Meyer liked to examine his feet. It was a difficult task to get his socks on when he couldn’t push his feet into the socks, but he knew Meyer would insist.

He used his elbows to support the weight of his body as he pulled his pants and boxers down. That was the hardest part of getting his pants off. Once they were at his knees, it was relatively easy to lift his legs and pull them the rest of the way off. He still had the condom catheter over his penis with the legbag attached to it; he took these off. Last, he took off his shirt and slipped on the paper gown.

He heard a knock at the door. “Adam, are you ready?”

“Yeah, come in.”

Magda came in, carrying the catheter to get a urine sample. She put the catheter on the table and hooked one arm around his back and one behind his knees. “Okay, up we go.”

She barely grunted as she lifted him up onto the examining table. She shook her head, “Adam, have you been losing weight? This is getting too easy.”

“No, I’m just as scrawny as I’ve always been,” Adam joked. He rested his head on the table as Magda inserted the catheter into his penis. He couldn’t really feel it, but she had done it so many times he knew what was happening. When he first started coming to Dr. Meyer, they had fought about the urine sample and Adam had insisted he could handle it on her own, but finally he had given up because he knew she would win the argument. Magda liked doing things her own way.

“The dipstick is clean,” Magda announced. “But I’ll bring the sample for cytology.”

After Magda ran out, Adam covered himself with the gown as best he could and propped himself up on his elbows. Usually, Dr. Meyer didn’t make him wait very long for his emergency visits. But since the urine dipstick was clean and he didn’t have a fever, the doctor might not rush in to see him.

A few minutes later, Adam saw the door to the room opening and he was about to greet Dr. Meyer, but he was surprised to see a pretty girl wearing a white coat open the door. She had dark hair pinned up in a ponytail and a nervous smile on her face.

“Hi,” she said. “Are you... uh, Mr. Harding?”

“Yes,” he said, staring into her pretty eyes. “Hi.”

“I’m Kristin,” she told him. “I’m a medical student. I’m working with Dr. Meyer this week.”

Adam couldn’t help but smile to himself. This must have been the girl Magda was talking about. “Nice to meet you, Kristin.”

“Um, I’m supposed to take your weight and blood pressure,” Kristin said. She bit her lip and looked at the wheelchair by the examining table. “Um...”

“I don’t think you’re going to get a weight for me,” Adam told her, smiling disarmingly. “But you can get my blood pressure.”

Adam sat up, tensing the weak muscles he had in his abdomen and supporting himself with one arm. Kristin took his other arm and wrapped the cuff around his biceps. She seemed mildly impressed by the size of the muscle, compared to his abnormally thin legs.

Kristin pumped up the cuff to a painful volume and Adam winced as she ever-so-slowly deflated it. “How’s my pressure?” he asked.

“It’s perfect,” she replied. She hesitated, “I’m supposed to ask you a few questions now.”

“Okay, go ahead.”

“So, Mr. Harding... um, what are you here for today?”

“Routine check-up,” Adam replied. He wasn’t about to tell this cute girl that he was here because he couldn’t get it up the last five times he tried to have sex.

“What... um, medical problems do you have?” Kristin glanced at his wheelchair again.

“Medical problems?” he raised an eyebrow. “Well, I’m a paraplegic.”

“Oh,” Kristin said. “For... um, how long?”

“Almost eleven years,” Adam replied.

“Oh.” Kristin seemed at a loss for something else to ask. Adam had to admit that she was very cute, but he wouldn’t consider dating someone who was in the medical field. He wanted a girlfriend, not a nursemaid.

Dr. Meyer came at that moment, breaking the awkward silence. He beamed at the two of them, “Kristin, did you get a history?”

“Sort of,” Kristin smiled apologetically.

Meyer shook his head at Adam, “Adam, what’s going on? You know I always get palpitations when I see your name on the list. Are you having any fever?”

“No, I...” Adam glanced over at Kristin.

Thankfully, Meyer understood. That was why Adam had chosen him as his doctor. Meyer put his hand on Kristin’s shoulder, “Kristin honey, can you see the patient in the next room while I talk to Mr. Harding?”

“Sure,” Kristin agreed.

After Kristin left the room, Dr. Meyer smiled, “Sweet girl, isn’t she? I think Magda wants to set you two up.” He crossed his arms, “Okay, so tell me what’s going on.”

Adam lowered his eyes, “I need to increase my dose of Viagra.”

Meyer raised an eyebrow, “Having a little trouble?”

Adam nodded. “I couldn’t, you know, get it up for the last few times I’ve tried. I’m dating this new girl and...”

“Adam,” Meyer said, “you know I told you last time that you’re on the highest dose I’m willing to give.”

“Yeah, but... it’s not working.”

Dr. Meyer sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you, Adam.”

“Tell me you’ll raise the dose,” Adam said. “I mean, this is important...”

“Look,” Meyer said, “there may be more to this than just the physical aspect of the problem. Impotence often has psychological origins.”

“What are you talking about? I’m a paraplegic.”

“Well, that’s definitely part of it,” Meyer admitted. “But... Adam, I see you every three months and every time you seem to be with a different woman. Does this make you happy?”

Adam shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“You’re almost thirty,” Meyer observed, “don’t you think it’s time to think about settling down a little bit?”

Adam averted his eyes. “I’d like to settle down,” he said quietly. “It’s just that... I don’t think anyone I’ve been out with has really wanted to get serious. I mean, they think it’s some kind of novelty, going out with a paraplegic, but I don’t think it’s what they see for themselves in the long run.”

“Have you ever even tried?”

“I don’t know,” Adam murmured.

“It’s easier to dump someone before she has a chance to do it first,” Meyer said knowingly. “But inevitably, it leaves you lonely.”

Adam had nothing to say to that. Dr. Meyer was right. He was lonely and he was sick of it. Maybe it was time to take the next step with someone. But was Brynne the right person? She was beautiful, interesting, and compassionate, the kind of girl any guy would want, but he wasn’t sure he could picture himself with her down the line. She certainly wasn’t the sort of woman he could picture himself growing old with. Would someone like Brynne stick around when he was in John Woodside’s condition?

Adam’s thoughts strayed to Maggie. Even back when he was only a teenager, he could picture himself growing old with Maggie. Despite her continued rejection of him, he loved her with all his heart. He still felt somewhat baffled by the fact that she had abandoned him ten years ago, when he was first injured. Despite Maggie’s fear of confrontation, he had always believed in his heart that Maggie would come through for him when he needed it most. But she hadn’t.

Now that he was talking to Maggie again, it seemed like there was a possibility of reconciliation. But even if he did have a chance at a relationship with Maggie, maybe he was dumb to take that chance. Maybe it was better to take what was right in front of him than to chase after a stupid dream from high school.


Maggie sat in Dr. Lessing’s office, waiting for him to see her. She clutched her pocketbook in her lap, focusing on a picture of the doctor with his wife and two children. He seemed like a very kind man in his picture. She supposed any doctor who Audrey would go to would have to be a nice guy.

“Ms. McConnelly!” A tall lanky man with gray hair and a beard entered the room. He flashed Maggie a broad smile. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long...”

“No, not at all,” Maggie said quickly.

Dr. Lessing picked up her chart and flipped through it before tossing it onto his desk. “So,” he said, crossing his arms, “you’re interested in losing weight.”

Maggie nodded, blushing slightly.

“I commend you,” Lessing said. “Many of my patients don’t want to lose weight even when they come in with diabetes and heart disease.”

Maggie smiled.

“According to your chart, your weight is 364 pounds,” Lessing said. He raised his eyebrows and let out a low whistle. “Does that sound right to you?”

“About right,” Maggie agreed.

“A bit high.”

“Yes, I know.”

“I like my patients to set goals for themselves,” Lessing said. “So what is your goal in terms of weight loss?”

Maggie avoided looking at Lessing’s eyes, afraid of what his response to her answer would be: “About 250 pounds.”

Dr. Lessing smiled. “Maggie... may I call you Maggie?”

“Uh... yes.”

“Maggie,” Lessing began, “when I tell my patients to set goals for themselves, I like those goals to be reasonable. Now Maggie, right now you are what we would call obese. This is a very unhealthy condition and I’d like to help you lose weight. But research has shown that it is almost impossible for a person to lose more than twenty percent of their body mass and keep it off. Now twenty percent of your body mass is about eighty pounds. I think eighty pounds is a very reasonable weight loss goal for the future.”

Eighty pounds. That would put her weight at 280 pounds. She couldn’t let Adam see her until she was at least under 150. She had been 110 back in high school. “There’s got to be a way,” Maggie insisted. “Aren’t there surgeries that can be done?”

Lessing shook his head. “There are surgeries, yes, but there are risks involved in surgeries. I would never recommend surgery in a young person with no health problems who hasn’t tried anything else to lose weight first. And even with surgery, you have to be realistic. You’re always going to be overweight, Maggie. But maybe we could bring you down to a somewhat healthier weight.”

Maggie looked down at her pocketbook. “All right, I see.”

Lessing frowned. “Maggie, if I may... is there another issue here that you’d like to discuss with me?”

Maggie bit her lip. “It’s just that... I used to be thin in high school. I’m just... not happy with the way I look right now.” And Adam won’t be happy with it.

“Well, that’s a very reasonable way to feel,” Lessing told her. “I think you’re a very beautiful girl, but I can understand that you may be critical of your own appearance. But that’s no reason to put yourself through a dangerous surgery with many complications.”

Maggie nodded. “I know.” She felt a sinking sensation in her stomach. She always knew in her heart that she wouldn’t be able to go back to the way she used to be, but it was still a shock to hear it from the doctor. She could hear in Adam’s voice on the phone that he badly wanted to see her and she wanted to see him too. But it looked like it wasn’t going to happen now. “How fast do you think I can lose the eighty pounds,” Maggie asked. Maybe if she lost eighty pounds a year for three years...

Lessing shook his head. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Maggie. Eighty pounds is a goal for the future. This year, maybe you can take off forty pounds, maybe even fifty. But you’ll have to really work on it.”

Maggie felt numb. This really wasn’t going to happen. She was never going to be able to see Adam again.

“Let me write down the number for Weight Watchers,” Lessing said.

Maggie took the number he gave her, but tossed it away as soon as she left the building. She knew she didn’t have the willpower for Weight Watchers anyway. What for? To be a little less morbidly obese?

Maggie bought a large order of french fries before getting on the bus to ride home. What was the point of trying to diet, now that she knew she could never be a normal weight again? The bus was somewhat crowded and the only seats available were single seats—Maggie couldn’t fit in single seats anymore, so she had to stand. She found that it was harder to stand for a long period of time now, and she often worked up a sweat from walking only a few blocks.

After a few minutes of standing, a man next to an empty seat stood up so that Maggie could sit down. Maggie gratefully squeezed into the double seat. She supposed this was what it was like from Adam now—always being offered charity from people. Maybe they had more in common than she thought.

Now that she was sitting, Maggie hungrily dug into her bag of french fries. She heard some chuckling and she looked up to see two teenage boys pointing at her and whispering to each other. Maggie ignored them and concentrated on her food—she felt another binge coming on. Everywhere she went, it seemed like people stared at her. She was used to it by now.

In some ways, she felt relief. It would have been very difficult to diet and lose all that extra weight. Plus she was used to being the way she was now and she didn’t really want to go back. Maggie had always been a quiet and introverted person and her current body habitus allowed her to keep to herself. She was happy with her life the way it was.

Yet she couldn’t get the idea out of her head that she missed Adam and all she wanted was to see him again.

To be continued....