Chip and I dated for six months. I was crazy about him and had no idea why. He only complemented me when it benefited him and he was always trying to find a new diet to put me on. He was rather obsessive about it and had me try every diet drug that was put out on the market. He was positive that chromium picolinate was the answer and had me taking three pills, four times a day. I did lose some weight but not the amount he was hoping and I was eventually told by my doctor to quit taking them when I started having kidney problems. Chip took this as a sign of my weakness and accused me of wanting to stay overweight.
Before his obsessiveness about my weight started, he was actually the first person that I had sex with since Nicky. Nicky had never really been interested in pleasing anyone sexually but himself, so Chip’s eagerness to please me was new and exciting. I had no idea at the time that I had never had an orgasm and the first time that I experienced one scared me to death. I had no idea that my body could act so uncontrollably. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. If I had to imagine what a high on drugs would be it would be that feeling. I never complained when he wanted to please me.
But he ran so hot and cold and least with Nicky I knew what mood he was in on any given day, Chip’s moods changed minute to minute. One day he would be asking me why I hadn’t called him yet and telling me he missed me and loved me, the next day he would seem mad that I would call and then tell me I was suffocating him. I never knew what to think. We would be in the middle of a phone conversation and everything would be going fine and he would just hang up. Thinking it was accidental I would call back and ask him what happened, he would tell me that he “was just done talking”. Other times we would be sitting on the couch watching television, I would get up to go to the bathroom or to get drinks from the kitchen; I would come back and he would have left. He would literally get in his truck and leave, no goodbye, no see you later, nothing. It was such strange and confusing behavior. We began arguing more often; it hadn’t gotten violent like it was with Nicky, but verbally he could overpower me with his words. He let me know that he was superior in intelligence. But with Chip I held my ground and only felt broken when he would comment on my weight and tell me that I didn’t have the want or desire to be as beautiful as he knew I could be. The way he said it made sense; he made it sound like what he said was the truth and if I believed anything else then I must be crazy. He started telling me that he believed that maybe I had some mental issues and that I should seek help. He made me doubt myself and I did begin wondering if something was wrong with me.
He was at the house one evening while I was preparing dinner for Addison. I had just sat down at the table with her to watch her because she was learning to use utensils and I wanted make sure she didn’t stab herself or poke her eyes out.
“Is mommy’s girl eating with her spoon?” I would sing song to her; she would smile knowing that eating with her spoon was a good thing and she was proud.
“Why do you talk to her like that?” Chip asked.
“What do you mean? She’s a toddler. How should I talk to her?”
“Well you act like she is going to sit up and answer you.” He laughed and looked at me like I was an idiot.
“Well no, I don’t expect her to answer me. But she likes it when I talk to her.” I just shook my head and turned back to my daughter.
“People think you are nuts when you do that. I have seen them looking at you. Are you completely unaware of it? How stupid it makes you look?”
I didn’t answer and went back to paying attention to the baby. There were many instances that he would try to bend my mind and make me believe that people were staring at me. We would be out and he would lean in to whisper in my ear and tell me that some man or woman was staring at me in disgust.
“See, that guy over there. He thinks you’re disgusting.” Chip would act disgusted too, “Probably wondering what the hell I am doing with someone like you? Probably thinks I’m a chubby chaser.”
I was beginning to get that beat down feeling that I had with Nicky. I was too afraid to leave; I was too worried that I would be alone for the rest of my life if I did. I didn’t want another failed relationship. Chip reminded me often that if he wasn’t with me, no one else would want me. He was the only one with patience to put up with me and my “issues.”
One night as we were lying in bed he reached over and began caressing my face,
“You’re so pretty,” he said. It seemed to be a very tender moment and I was hopeful that he was going to say something sweet, “you are lucky to have me, you know that?”
I smiled thinking he was flirting, “Why is that?”
“Not many men would stay with a fat woman. You’re lucky I am here because I am so supportive of you and want to help you lose the weight.”
The break-up was easier than I had expected. When I told him that I didn’t want to see him any longer he made sure that I knew he had already moved on.
“It’s all good, Baby. I’ve been fucking Nikki for a few weeks now. I just stayed with you because I felt sorry for you.” With that he hung up the phone.
I picked the receiver up on the second ring, “Hello?” I answered out of breath. Addison was on the floor playing and I smiled and waved at her as I waited for the caller to speak.
“Is this Tessa?” asked the female voice on the other end.
“Yea, who’s this?” I didn’t recognize the voice.
“Nikki. I’m Chip’s girlfriend.” Are you kidding me?
“And…?” I didn’t have time for this.
“I just called to tell you that I hope you don’t have any hard feelings about Chip breaking it off with you. I mean you can’t help who you fall in love with right?”
Was this girl for real? I had seen her at the Kabooty flirting with all the guys. She always wore a tight white tank top, regardless of the weather, tons of eye shadow and her pitch black air was huge. Lorene joked about how she was a decade behind and that Nikki’s hair was a reject from 1988. I had to remind Lorene that we wore similar hair styles once upon a time. She would laugh and say, “yeah, but we’re hot!”
“Well, Chip didn’t break it off with me. I broke it off with him.” I corrected Nikki.
“He said you would say that.” I could hear her smirk through the phone line, “Anyway…no hard feelings right?”
“Yeah, whatever Nikki,” the conversation was boring me and I started to hang up when she began to speak again.
“I feel bummed for you though, I mean the sex with him is so good,” she put extra emphasis on the ‘so’ and followed the sentence with a nasally snort that I hoped was supposed to be a laugh, “and I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings too bad, but I just thought you should know. He said that being in bed with you and seeing that wrinkly, fat body repulsed him. He said it was all he could do to get it up and he had to close his eyes and think of me just to get a hard on,” Nasally snort.
No, that didn’t hurt my feelings…maybe if she just twisted the knife a little to the left…
“Hey, Tess, where’s Marta and Lorene?” Lisa the Kabooty’s door checker asked as I walked in. Kip had picked Addison up early so I ran some errands and told Lorene that I would meet her there.
“Ben is taking Marta to the movies and Lorene is supposed to meet me soon,” I smiled at her. Lisa always had a smile on her pretty face. She stood close to six feet tall and had a rock solid body, weightlifter solid. Men didn’t piss Lisa off if they knew what was good for them. She could bounce a biker out the door just as easily as any of the buff security guards that worked at the bar. If I ever got in a fight I would want Lisa to have my back.
“You haven’t seen Chip and Nikki here tonight have you?” I asked. I didn’t want to run into them. Even though I was glad Chip and I were done, knowing that he had moved on before we were over still stung and so did the memory of the Nikki phone call.
“Nope, but I will warn you if he does show up. I always wondered what you saw in the weasely little prick.” The smile was replaced with a look of disgust.
I let out a little laugh and shrugged my shoulders. I hadn’t run into many people who were big Chip fans. Most of them would ask me why I was with him. I had no answer for them.
“I really have no idea. Hey I’ll talk to you in a bit, okay?” With that I walked over to a group of friends at the end of the bar.
Lorene showed up about twenty minutes later and we found a table close to the dance floor. It wasn’t long before our table was full from the weekend regulars and it was a good time talking to them and catching up. Lorene and I spent most of the night dancing, drinking shots and enjoying the music. A slow song came on and some random guy had asked Lorene to dance so I took that opportunity to head to the restroom and then to the bar to grab a beer. After I washed my hands and left the Ladies Room I saw Chip standing in his usual spot next to the non-functioning jukebox with beer in his hand. He was standing alone and Nikki was nowhere in sight. I pushed past the long line of women waiting to get into the restroom and I tried to avoid getting in his line of sight. It was hard to get past him and not be noticed, but if I could blend in a group I might be able to get to the safety of our table and Lorene.
I thought I was going to have success when I large biker guy walked between me and the door leading to the dance floor, but I was wrong.
“Tess!” I heard Chip yell across the room. I pretended I didn’t hear him and made a detour towards Lisa and the exit.
“Hey!” Lisa greeted me, “leaving already?” I could tell by the look on her face that she saw Chip behind me and understood my urgency to get out the door, “I’ll stall him.” She assured me as I pushed the door open and walked out into the night air. I reached into my pocket and realized I left my keys and purse at the table.
“Shit! Shit, shit, shit!” I turned and looked back at the door. I could see Lisa through the glass; she was standing with her hand on Chip’s chest. She was talking to him with a smile on her face, but you could tell she was being stern. If I had to imagine what she was saying to him I would say she was reasoning with him why he should just let me leave. But I couldn’t leave; I was stuck standing in the parking lot.
“Damn it!” I huffed and started to walk across the gravel lot towards my car. I was about two rows from the car when I heard steps behind me on the loose gravel. I picked up my speed without bursting into a full run; but I would if I had to.
“Tess! Come on! I just want to talk to you!” The steps stopped. I kept walking, “Tess! Come back! Please,” He was still standing in the same spot.
I slowed my pace and turned around. He stood there and put his arms up palms out as if to say, ‘I give up’. I stopped and leaned against someone’s Buick. I was too tired to keep going and my lungs were burning from the fresh air. I had been breathing the smoke filled air of the Kabooty for the last few hours and my lungs were working hard to push out the bad air. He walked slowly to where I stood.
“What do you want Chip?” I didn’t look up at him, “What could you possibly have to say to me?”
He stood and waited for me to look up at me. When I did I thought that I saw a glimmer of apology in his eyes. Or I hoped for one.
“I think I left my Cranberries CD in your car.” Seriously?
“What?” I looked at him like he was out of his mind.
“Cranberries, you know? CD, Compact Disc?” He said compact disc slowly as if I were too dense to understand the concept. Granted I had yet to install the newest technology in my car, but he had me purchase a portable CD player with a cassette adapter so we could listen to his insanely large alternative music collection. He was almost as obsessed with his music as he was with my weight loss.
“I don’t have your CD Chip,” I said CD slowly to make my point.
“Well, I suppose you won’t mind me checking for myself then will you?” He crossed his arms and stood staring at me.
“I don’t have my keys, I left them inside.”
“I’ll wait. Go get them.” He leaned against a car.
I shook my head in disbelief and walked back towards the bar. When I opened the door and stepped in, Lisa stopped me.
“Are you okay?” She stood up and looked out seeing that he was still standing in the parking lot.
“Yeah, he just thinks he left a CD in my car or something.” I waved off her concern, “I’m going to get the keys and let him look for it.” She rolled her eyes and sat back down on her stool. I headed to the table to get my keys from my purse.
“Hey, where’d you go? I was looking for you.” Lorene ran off the dance floor when she saw me come down the ramp. Her hair was wet with perspiration from dancing.
“Chip’s here. I have to get my keys; he says he left a CD in my car and wants it back. Whatever.” I rummaged through my purse until I found my car keys.
“Where is the little fucker?” Lorene couldn’t stand Chip. She never could. Said he was slimy and gave her the willies.
“He’s out in the parking lot. Listen, I have to get out there. The sooner he gets the damn CD the faster I can get rid of him.”
“You want me to come with you?” She had had enough to drink that she was feeling tough and probably would have enjoyed a good fight. I laughed at her alcohol induced bravery.
“Ha ha, no. Stay here I’ll only be a few.” I tossed the keys in the air and caught them, “Be right back.”
Touching Trees by T L Lady is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://touchingtrees.wordpress.com.wouldn’t have her. So I stayed, I would make it to the year if it killed me. And it just might.
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