Selima Alula is standing in front of her full length mirror, grimacing at the obese woman staring back at her. Her diet is obviously not working. She cringes at the stretch marks that have appeared on her stomach and the rolls of fat that encompass her knees and elbows. Selima stares at her sausage like fingers in the mirror, her finger nails barely visible through the fat. She frowns at her unsightly brown hair and begins to cry. A half empty bottle of diet pills sits next to her sink on her vanity.
Her daily workout routine starts with a one hundred calorie granola bar and a five mile run that gives way to three ounces of water and an hour of yoga, from there she goes to work at Millay's Fitness and Health Foods where she is a spinning instructor. For lunch Selima has a four hundred calorie health shake and six carrot sticks. After work, she gets home and has a quarter of an apple, four ounces of water, and jogs another five miles. Dinner consists of a half -boiled chicken breast with four pieces of broccoli and five skittles as a special treat. Before bed she completes an hour of light weight lifting, takes a shower, and goes to bed.
Every morning Selima steps on the scale in front of her full length mirror and everyday it reads consistently between eighty-two and eighty-seven pounds. Fucking piece of shit, she thinks to herself, these things are always wrong. They must be off by two hundred pounds. I wonder when someone will make a scale that is accurate. She steps off the scale and throws it in the garbage.
Selima has a strained relationship with her mother because of her obesity. Her mother is always meddling in her business and trying to get Selima to eat more. How fat does my mother want me to get? Does she want me to end up like Dad? Selima's father died of a massive heart attack due to his weight issues when she was twelve. She could never forgive her Mother for feeding her Dad all those fried, fatty foods, and allowing him to sit around all day without exercise.
This particular morning, as Selima stands in front of her mirror crying, she begins to feel her heart race and her breathing becomes difficult. She is holding eight little white diet pills in her hand. The harder she tries to breath the harder it is to get oxygen to her brain. She notices her ankles were swollen, but contributes that to her obesity. Her skin goes pale as her left arm started to tingle. Selima starts getting dizzy. She drops to one knee and stares into the mirror. The fat monstrosity stares back. Selima slams the reflection of the beast in the face with her tiny fist. She turns around and puts her back against the mirror, to avoid seeing herself. She looks at the pills in her right hand as her chest tightens one last time as everything goes dark. Her tiny, malnourished body sits lifeless against her mirror.
Amiles Alula stands in front of her mirror full of confidence. She sees a thin, beautiful woman staring back at her. Her long legs give way to perfect hips and a tight stomach. Her breasts are supple and perky. She admires her full brown eyes and smiles while she combs her long brunette hair. A half empty box of cookies sits on her vanity next to the sink.
Amiles doesn't exercise very often, hell she never works out at all. Every morning for breakfast she has three eggs, four slices of bacon, buttered toast, and two biscuits covered in gravy while washing it all down with most of a two liter of Diet Coke. After breakfast she gets into her SUV and drives to Jack's Meat Packing, where she inspects the packaged meat for any defects. If she is lucky she might find one mistake a week. When the horn for lunch blows, Amiles drives herself to the nearest drive-thru and orders various combo meals. Her favorite is the #3, a triple cheeseburger and large fries, paired with a #12, a double fish sandwich with extra tartar sauce and large fries. Every day she gets something different, but this meal is always a constant.
After work is done for the day, Amiles goes home and makes a healthy, homemade dinner. Meatloaf and brown gravy is her all-time favorite and is a weekly, if not bi-weekly meal. When her plate is clean and her belly full, she sits on her over sized sofa and watches her recorded soap operas. Before bed time Amiles eats a large bowl of ice cream covered in chocolate syrup and nuts. She figures the nuts are a healthy alternative to sugar sprinkles.
Amiles visits her Father every Sunday for a large dinner. Her relationship with her Dad grew strong when at the age of twelve when her Mother died of Anorexia. From that point on Amiles decided to never hold back what she eats. The only time she gets aggravated with her Father is when he makes remarks about their weight. She thinks to herself, I don't know what he is talking about. He is the size of a bus but I am as fit as a fiddle. One of these days I am going to tell him to quit calling me fat, even if it is in undertones.
On this fine morning, Amiles stands looking at herself over in the mirror and eats another chocolate chip cookie. Beads of sweat start forming on her forehead and neck as her complexion grows pale. Her legs give way beneath her and she falls to her knees, smacking her face on the mirror as she goes. Her left arm tightens and goes numb at the same time. She has the feeling that an elephant is sitting on her chest as she rolls over to sit on her butt. She leans her back against the mirror as the sweat is rolling into her eyes. As she takes her last breathe she looks through blurry eyes at the cookie still in her right hand. Her mammoth, over fed body sits lifeless against her mirror.
Two dead bodies sit back to back only separated by a thin piece of reflective glass. The two women knew each other well, although they had never actually met. In one world an anorexic woman holds eight tiny diet pills, and in another, a morbidly obese woman holds a chocolate chip cookie.