I need to put my feet first. They would hurt less. My joints would have less pain. My clothes would fit me. I simply have to lose weight — a lot of weight. I don’t want to lumber through the grocery aisles anymore. I want to stride. I want to stand up from my chair, not struggle like a man trapped in quicksand. “There has to be a way,” I think as I let another spoon of vanilla ice cream glide over my lips and feel its cold sweetness melt on my tongue.
Fatso. I’m 6’7” tall and I weigh 270 pounds. I sit. I watch television. I cruise my favorite sites on the internet. I make plans. Dr. S—-n once told me to forget everything but calories. He said my ideal weight is whatever I weighed when I was 22. I was a college basketball player and weighed 220 then. You know, I bet I could lose those 50 lbs. Not overnight, of course. All I have to do is work out a routine and stick to it. R-i-g-h-t.
I took up smoking in the late seventies when I lived in Chicago. In 1981, about a year after I married Barbara in Atlanta, I quit. Not once did she ever complain about the cigarettes. I just knew it was the right thing to do. Quitting was very hard. In my entire life I never had a closer friend than a cigarette. I loved the smell, the taste, the soothing poison that filled my lungs, the nicotine rush. I actually have specific memories of happy moments of pure enjoyment. But I quit. It was the right thing to do.
I really like ice cream. In fact, I’m having a bowl right now. Neapolitan is my favorite, with those seductive slices of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. When I take the carton from the freezer, I slip it into the microwave for about 30 seconds to soften the contents a little. The scoop slides right in and I fill a small bowl. Back into the microwave for a few seconds and the texture is perfect. Carrying my bowl of comfort, I waddle over to my chair in front of the TV and shoehorn my rear into it. I press ‘play’ on the remote and settle back. It doesn’t matter what movie is on … anything that has three or more stars on Netflix.
How does Barb do it? She has actually trimmed down some since she got Alzheimer’s disease. She likes ice cream, too, but she’s a one bowl woman. Always has been.
Life was simpler before Barbara got Alzheimer’s disease. Frankly, I thought more about me than I did about us. I worked hard, rode my bike a lot and took daily walks. I loved going on trips with her. We both liked renting a cabin and just escaping for a few days. Barb knew so many people. She had lived in a so many places. She’d been through a lot of pain, but it had only made her stronger. Barbara loved everybody and everybody loved her. She doesn’t see her friends anymore. It takes two to tango.
We did drive up to Birmingham recently to visit Beth and family. At the age of 45 she’s going to have a baby boy. Since our return, I’ve heard Barb say, “Beth’s little tummy looks so precious” or “Beth looks so sweet with her little tummy.” This is most unusual. But I like it. My feet will have to wait. I smile a little as I raise another spoonful of ice cream. –lg