Invisible calories

Amanda stared at the finish line on the coffee table.

Magazine pictorals of swimsuits in beach settings, bronzed, playful and happy.

Sand stuck to skin in a way that was sexy and attractive, not sneaking underneath the lining of the maternal one-piece she had chased around the kids in last summer, sticking between her breasts and grating her nipples.

She already knew, hers would be red, and with that bikini she would again recapture leisurely trips to the coast, reading half of a paperback in a long weekend and drinking pinapple juice and Malibu Rum from an insulated coffee mug.

She looked at her clear glass beside her and imagined it filled with yellow juice and warm fuzzy feelings. Then sighed.

She was sick of water.

She was sick of of the yogurt, that promised satisfaction and decadence in the commercials. The plastic tubs and foil wrappers held a bland and mushy facsimile of the desserts she craved.

She was sick of salad, of the leaves that promised so many vitamins and nutrients, but, no matter how she covered then in low-fat watery-thin dressing spritzed on, they all tasted the same.

Her daughter sat in front of the television slowly munching on a plate of Oreo cookies and a glass of milk while her eyes glazed over with commercials of tiny animal toys and dolls that dressed so gaudy and flashy Perez Hilton would have a field day with them were they a celebutante at a movie premiere. The daschund circled her like a shark circles prey, eyes on the prize.

“Molly, finish your cookies before the dog gets them.”

From across the room she could smell the cookies, and her mouth almost burned with desire.

Resolutely, she lifted the water glass to her lips and took another sip.


Amanda was still awake hours later. She lay in bed, picking at the flowers embroidered on the thin coverlet, her husband snoring beside her.

Every time she closed her eyes she could see the plate of cookies. Her ‘dessert’ of a yogurt key lime pie was no substitute for sugar and fat and crunch. Her stomach moved with a will of its own, out nof bed and into the kichen.

She tiptoed through the dark hallway, muttering a curse as her foot hit a Barbie doll left abandoned, her date Ken off carousing with a dark-haired copy with no pants on in another room.

The cupboard door squeaked as she slowly opening it, her eyes seeing the white creamy fillings on the box of Oreos before the words could focus.

In the dark, she laid out an entire row of the cookies.  She shoved one in her mouth and sighed, the crunch unfamiliar in her mouth. Then another, and another.

She licked the filling off of the fourth one first, but as she bit into the chocolate cookie she realized she was missing something.

The refrigerator light cast harsh light on the package and the calorie count that forbade this indulgence, so Amanda averted her eyes and poured herself a glass of milk.

They were quicker to chew when dipped in milk. After she polished off the handfuls of cookies, she held the milk glass over her open mouth and let the last drops fall into her mouth, the cookie crumbs making  a grainy chocolate milk.

She felt carefree in the dark, unable to see her body or feel anything but satisfaction and fullness. She rested her arms on the counter,  imagined herself on a beach, the feeling of hot sand on her toes and the smell of cookies in the air.