ShovelofDirt“When I get my new body,” she said, “it’s going to be nothing like this one. I want it to be beautiful, slender, lithe.  I want to look like a movie star and move like a ballerina.”

“I thought you were lovely the way you were.  You were always huggable.”

She chuckled. “I tried so hard to lose weight, but no matter how much I lost, I’d always want to lose twenty pounds more. Then I gained it all back with five pounds’ interest.”

Well, down there, everybody’s left for the dinner. They’re letting the coffin down.  They put on a really nice funeral for you, don’t you think?”

“I wish they’d said some of those nice things to my face more. I could have used the approval.  I never thought I was good enough, served enough, devoted enough, but when you look at it all in a bunch, it turned out pretty well.  I’m surprised. I didn’t think I was making much of an impression.”

“Perspective, my dear. And you’ll get more as soon as we get back.”

“A lot of them cried, but I don’t feel sad.  I am so glad to be free! I am glad that until the last I never had to be the weak one.  It was a lot easier to be the giver than the receiver!”

“You gave me so much, I’ll always be grateful.”

“No, Love, you were the one that gave. All our lives together. And every minute I tended you, even towards the end when you couldn’t talk, I knew what you were thinking.”

“We didn’t need words. I’ve missed you.  I’m so glad you’ve come home.”

She looked down at her spirit body: “I need a mirror. I know we get an automatic face lift and age reduction. Looks like the excess weight has been dropped.  Hey, where do I go to sign up for a beautiful body, not just a version of the old one? I want my heavenly reward to be beauty! I mean outward, not just inward! Forget the mansion and the streets of gold.”

“But you were never ugly!”.

“I felt ugly from age twelve on. No matter what I did, because I was fat, I was despised or invisible. You, skinny one, never knew how people treat a fat person. No matter what you say, no matter how hard to try, how smart you are, how able and helpful, the fat hides everything, muffles it.  But if you’re beautiful, the world approves of you. You can see that in people’s faces.”

“I loved you. Everybody loved you. Besides, how healthy the babies you delivered were.”

“Yes. But I got like a blimp.  And stayed that way. You know, some of my friends had as many kids as I did yet their stomachs were almost flat. I fought it, but I ended up with a figure just like my grandma’s”

She looked ahead at the light they were approaching. “I have missed you as if I’d been cut in half!  The last ten years without you have seemed longer than the first fifty-five with you!” They hugged each other again, shining with joy as they continued walking through the jewellike spiritscape, hand in hand.

He smiled at her: “You always saw yourself as fat, but we saw you as, well, as you.  Those who knew you well cherished you. Those who were the object of your charity, your service, your love, that gentle wittiness—we didn’t worry about what you looked like. We were too busy smiling because you made us happy!”

She felt surprise. She brought to mind the old intermittent misery she had felt, especially when she went looking for clothes and found she’d increased another size. “But you made me feel honored. I was overwhelmed that you wanted to marry me! And then you let me be a mother! And you were so nice to me!”

“We had to concentrate on our inner strengths because we didn’t excel in the beauty department, either of us. What if we’d looked like models?  Would we have been happier? Would we have loved each other more? Would we have had a nicer family or served others better?”

She smiled at him with shining affection. “You became exactly what I didn’t know I wanted!  Oh, my love, I felt beautiful when you held me!” She realized that past pain had slipped away into insignificance. Suddenly she grinned in the old, impish way. “If I had been as beautiful as I’d wished, I wouldn’t have had to settle for you!”



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