The following is fiction:

“Wow,” said one person, “you look fantastic! Happy Birthday!” I nodded and smiled. Reactions from old friends were either like that, or the complete opposite. Some of my dearest friends from back in the day did something worse. They ignored me and wouldn’t meet my eyes. I went up to my oldest friend and tapped him on the shoulder.
“What’s wrong with you?” I demanded.
“You’ve changed,” he said, not meeting my eyes. “You probably got work done.”
“Work?” I asked, shocked.
“How much did you spend to lose weight?” he looked up, eyes angry. “Just to look like them?”
“The fuck?” I asked. “I didn’t get any work done. I just did what I did with my brain.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked.
“I did my studying while running on a treadmill,” I said. “I typed my essays with a small under desk exercise system. I did to my body what I did to my brain. Train.” He looked down, ashamed. “I thought we were friends,” I continued. “I didn’t think that the only thing you liked about me was my body.”
“That’s not how it is!” he exclaimed.
“Isn’t it?” I asked. “You come to my birthday party and you tell me to my face that you hate me because I’ve worked to change my body type?” I shook my head. “You’re just as shallow as them.”

I turned and walked away. I’d never call that guy again. I didn’t train so hard just to look good. My heart demanded I exercise or die, and that ‘friend’ would rather me dead than do what I needed to do to live.

18 July 2023


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