“My Boyfriend Is Gaining Weight And I Feel Shallow Because He’s Too Fat To Rescue Me From This Tower,” by Ben Hargrave

Feb 14th, 2018 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

My boyfriend Ken and I have been in a beautiful relationship for thirteen years. What started out as a childhood friendship turned into a wonderful, harmonious union of mind, body, and soul. But now the body part is beginning to sag. Ken’s body, to be specific. He is gaining weight and I feel shallow because he’s too fat to rescue me from this tower.

I love Ken. He’s everything you could ever want in a partner: kind, compassionate, nurturing, inspiring, and challenging. His presence in my life has been the driving force behind starting a home business, finishing my novel, and going after other passion projects I had always put on the back-burner. Ken really is close to flawless, except for the part where he’s rotund now. And since I’ve become trapped in this tower after being kidnapped by an evil spirit intent on breaking an ancient curse placed upon him, well, it’s making Ken less attractive.

Honestly, his recent weight gain wouldn’t bother me at all if I wasn’t stuck up here, but I still feel so terrible that I currently view him with disdain considering all we’ve been through. Our early years together were tremendously taxing due to work and family obligations, but Ken always found time to write cute love notes, make home-cooked meals, and give me nightly massages. So when I was taken by the Ghost King Traglamar and locked in a tower that I can only be freed from by my true love, I knew it might kill him if he tried to walk up all those stairs.

The first bad sign came the night I was taken, when the Ghost King flew in through our bay window riding an undead, winged shadow horse to steal me away into the night. Ken’s reaction was to half-roll over in bed, reach out his play-dough arm and yell, “Maggie, nooo!” right before he took a bite of the pumpkin pie he had retrieved from the nightstand drawer. He cried as he shoveled it into his gaping maw and watched us fly away. Though, to be fair, it could’ve been a result of how delicious the treat tasted. Ken does cry for pie.

It took four days before Ken arrived at the foot of the tower, and now at night I hear him heaving from down below, his groans reverberating off the interior walls. It is faint, yes, but at least I can take solace in the fact that he made it. It’s only a thirty minute drive followed by a ten minute walk from our apartment in Providence (Traglamar left Ken a scroll with very simple directions), but from my vantage point with a clear view of the parking lot and trail leading to the tower, I saw Ken take at least sixty breaks and two naps.

What does it say about me that I am no longer drawn to him? Am I a monster? Is it natural that I – a vegan yogi in excellent shape – wish that my partner maintains an equally healthy body? Or at the very least possesses the most minuscule modicum of fitness required to walk up five flights of stairs and simply turn the knob of a door held shut by a dark magic that will yield due to the power of love? I fear he is too languid to even do what my eighty-year-old grandmother could easily accomplish with her eyes closed and her hands tied behind her scoliosis-laden back. God, I am such a bitch.

What is beginning to trouble me more is the fact that Traglamar is starting to look, shall I say…appealing. Sure, his head is a charred skull with a snake tongue and he sports a cape of fire, but he also has an incredible six-pack and I can sense that if he scooped me up in his sculpted, muscular arms, I’d feel safe. Plus, I could watch him chop wood all day. In my defense, he chops wood shirtless constantly. I think he’s doing it on purpose.

At least this doesn’t count as an emotional affair, right? Those are unforgivable. I’m only attracted to the Ghost King physically. What else am I to do while I wait for Ken to slither up the stairs like a beached manatee? Though, yesterday, I saw Traglamar hoist Ken on his back and take him up to the third floor because he felt so bad. He even gave Ken a pep talk. For an age-old specter from Hell, he really is empathetic.

If Ken doesn’t make it, I don’t think it would be wrong for me to move on. That’s what happens in relationships. Sometimes you have to accept that two people can reach a certain point beyond which they can never return, just like I’ll have to accept that if Ken doesn’t rescue me by midnight tonight, I will become the Ghost Queen and the curse on Traglamar’s body will lifted, whereupon it will be restored to all of its former glory. He showed me a commissioned portrait from before the spell took hold and…damn.

It will be heartbreaking for Ken, to be sure, and I know that ruling the Kingdom of Shadows isn’t going to be a walk in the park for me. I’ve never been a royal undead phantom before, and the fact that I’ll be continually haunting Ken will definitely exacerbate the pain of our separation. But who knows? Maybe he’ll sign up for a trial at SoulCycle.

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Ben Hargrave is a comedian, writer, and actor in Brooklyn whose writing has appeared on McSweeney’s, Splitsider, The Hard Times, The Tusk, Janice, The Higgs Weldon, Points In Case, Funny or Die, and Above Average. He also makes his own peanut butter and excels at farting around.

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