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massimo ankor, flickr

Massimo ankor, flickr

How to explain the skinned elbow. It wasn’t like the time Miska hopped up on top of the bar to dance and had fallen, some of the guys coming to her rescue.

No, this was Berta home alone with her frozen dirty martini, underestimating her body’s ability to absorb the alcohol on no carbs. But also, self medicating when her midlife boyfriend reunited with her and her fear of abandonment set in.  Overweight, middle aged Berta, divorced from a 20 year marriage to a doctor, grateful for a man’s expressed interest in her even if it was only for the easy sex. And it was always hard for Berta to know the difference: Was he just interested in the sex or did he have a truly vested interest? And did it matter any more? Was she supposed to care?

How to explain the loose skin at her elbow when she showed for girls night out. An hour before, standing at her sink, a sudden sensation overwhelming her and a slow, slow tipping of her body like she had heard cows tip at the slightest pressure at night while asleep. She couldn’t stop herself. She tried, but she kept going down, to the kitchen linoleum, her midlife boyfriend having told her only hours before it made him really hot to watch a woman emerge from a bathtub. She had been secretly grateful he had yet to see her creaking up to standing from her townhouse tub and she had wondered what would happen when he finally witnessed it.

She had lain on the kitchen floor when the dirty martini laid her low. She absorbed the humiliation. Of course, she would never tell. But what if she had been forced to alert someone because of broken bones, or worse? She would have rather died. And she thinks: She probably just would have died. Before calling. Before texting. Just died.