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Tales from The Port: a series of snippets.

Susan

Susan went to the grocery store more than needed. At least four or five times a week, she'd find herself gliding the Range Rover into the lot of the Trader Joe's on the main road that ran through town. Today, she parked in the furthest spot of the lot. It was fall and the air was crisp with the smells that made living in Connecticut sort of special. The store wasn't very busy, but her trainer had told her that she needed to add more steps into her day, so parking further away from her destination helped her close her rings. She had become obsessed with closing her rings and burning calories with every activity. This morning after showering, she stood in front of the mirror behind her bathroom door. Ted was still sleeping and Jenny and Laura would be getting ready for the bus soon. As the towel dropped, a small smile spread across Susan's lips. Her hand rested on her belly. It was empty and flat. The chunky four-carat ring that had once been tight on her finger felt cool and sharp as it rolled around her finger and caught the light of the mirror. The tips of her fingers touched the smoothness of her hip bones that stuck out as it had when she was nine or ten, but had been covered up by puberty and childbirth for years. A flutter of warmth filled her chest as she placed her right hand between her thighs, thrilled with the gap between them. Her daughter's thigh gap wasn't as large as hers. She knew because she had watched her last week when she and her friends were lounging around the pool. Jenny ran the risk of ending up chubby like her father and the entire side of his family. Her torso was thick and showed at 12 no signs of curving in and being less tree trunk like. Her other friends had started to get their shapes, but there wasn't much hope for Jenny. Perhaps, she could take her to a dietician and to the spin studio in the next year. Her bat mitzvah was coming up and Susan didn't want to even think about what the photos would look like.

Ted knocked on the door mumbling that he had to pee.





"I'll be out in a minute," she said wrapping the towel around her thinking only of the glass of juice Merita had already prepared for her downstairs. The housekeeper started the house humming every morning with the whir of coffee bean grinders and juicers that bounced around the recently renovated kitchen. Susan unlocked the door and opened it staring at the bed and the sight of her husband sitting on the edge. His belly hung over the waistband of his pajamas. The hair on his torso climbed up his stomach like thick ropes of spiders. It spread to his back and had been something she found oddly attractive in her early 30s when her prospects were few. Now, nearing 45, she smiled and bit her tongue.



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