Julie has really stuck to her New Years’ resolution. She’s doing aerobics at the Y. Hip hop dance things. I wake up predawn sometimes, find her in the living room, grunting and squatting and lunging to the commands of instructional YouTube videos promising a bigger booty. She looks incredible. All the hard work is paying off, if you get my drift.
Now we’re going out for Valentine’s Day dinner. Amateur night at the steakhouse. But Julie’s taking forever to get ready. I peek in the bedroom to see the floor is now a wasteland of shoes and dresses–scarves and what looks like Cat woman’s bodysuit. She’s got on this tight gold number, something I’ve never seen before—which isn’t saying much because Disney has hired interns to handle less costume inventory.
“You almost ready, Jules?” I ask, wondering if I should eat before we go. She throws her hands up, spins around and checks herself in the mirror.
“Does this make my butt look big?”
Well, this is my chance. She’s been working so hard to get that butt to grow and now it’s gold and round and a song enters my head. You know the one. Without a second thought, I spin around and throw out my own, decidedly ample posterior.
“I like big butts, I can-not lie/You other brothers can’t deny…
I like ’em round, and big/And when I’m throwin’ a gig
I just can’t help myself…
I’m actin’ like an animal/Now here’s my scandal
I want to get you home
And ugh, double-up, ugh, ugh
Baby got back…”
I wake up on the floor, in a sea of discarded clothing. My wife is in a t-shirt and jogging pants. She’s got her arms crossed tight over her chest like she does when I forget her birthday.
“I can’t believe you.”.
She’s sniffling. Her eyes are glossy and red. I blink to life. My head hurts. Let’s see, I remember gold. Big, beautiful gold. Singing. Then it went dark.
I try to sit up. “What happened?”
Julie shoots me a glare. That glare. I feel a knot on my forehead. See a broken high heel shoe beside me.
“You know, just because we’re married doesn’t mean you can call me fat.”
Fat? “I didn’t call you…wait, what?”
“I’ve been working so hard, John. After work, before work. It sucks, but I do it anyway. I watch carbs and count calories. And you make it all a joke.”
“I do not,” I say, digging the other heel out from under me.
She sighs. “Right. I just…I wish you knew how hard it was for me. Sure, you come home and flop on the couch and eat junk and it’s fine. But for me, it’s…different.”
I start to sit up, shaking off the cobwebs. “Jules, I love the way you look.”
I get to my feet but I’m woozy and plop down on the bed. When I set my head back there’s nothing to catch and my head clunks the headboard. “Ouch.”
Julie blows a strand of hair from her face. “Your pillow is on the couch.”
“Look, Julie, I don’t understand. I thought you wanted a bigger booty?”
“No, John. I want a buttocks lift. Not a ‘bigger booty’. God. You really are dense.”
“But I like your—”
“Do not. Say it.”
I’m so confused. More than that time she mentioned a new clutch she wanted and so I took her car to the shop. Okay, I am dense. But seeing her there, all fired up like that, well, I flop over onto my side and let my belly spill over.
I give her a flutter of my lashes. “Is this where you want me?”
She cocks her head. I catch a hint of that gorgeous Julie smile. “Shut up,” she says, taking a small step towards the bed.
I trace the bed spread. “You know, I think I could use an abdominal lift.”
Julie’s eyes go wide. “You want to go to the gym with me?”
Damn. That’s the last thing I want to do. But she’s so damn cute that I shrug. “Yeah, I do.”
She leaps on top of me. “Really? We could do mornings, say six, before work?”
“Maybe.” Oh God. What have I done?
She leans forward and kisses the lump on my forehead. “I’m sorry I freaked out.”
“It’s okay. I’m sorry I tried to rap Sir Mix A lot.”
“We could stay in? Burn calories?”
“Yeah, and save money.”
She lifts her head up, touches my nose. “Why don’t you just let me do the talking, okay?”