by Catrina Joos
"George, sweetie, don't you think I look lovely?"
George did not look up from his crossword puzzle.
"Of course, Dear."
Fifteen across. Ten letters. Clue: The man with all the answers. Answer: Alex Trebek.
On the bedside table was a pair of thick spectacles, an empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a single wineglass.
"Georgie-poo, you're not looking."
George reached for the wineglass instead of his glasses. What was there to see? It was only dwarfish, dowdy, dumpy Loraine. Baby weight, she says. What a crock. All five of them miscarriages, but she never stopped eating for two.
On three-inch stiletto heels, Loraine spun slowly. It was a crimson sheath-dress that pinched and puckered around her bloated belly. The sequins shimmered in the lamplight. George, bleary-eyed, saw what looked like a blood-sausage, shiny with grease, being rotated on a spit.
Loraine prattled on. Didn't George just love the dress? It had taken months to find. For the first time in her life, she felt glamorous. She wanted to dance at Lisa's wedding; she hadn't danced in decades. In fact, she'd become a real hermit after James, miscarriage number-five. She wanted to surprise everyone, especially her sister.
Gracious, gorgeous, gazelle-like Grace.
George said nothing; he returned to the confounded puzzle. Even though it was only the Wednesday edition of The Times, sixty-four down was proving troublesome. Six letters. Clue: Better half.
"George, sweetie, do you think I look fat?"
God willing, let my hearing be the next to go. "Of course, Dear."