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Dexter Pearson – Romance Short Story

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Tavinder Kaur New delights with this short story about romance and what one man is willing to do for love.

As a child, I loved to eat Mars bars–eagerly: having small bites and using both fingers to shove the little crumbs of chocolate in my profusely watering mouth. I grew fat because of this, ‘Little chubby Dexter’ I was called whilst growing up in Dagenham. I was always picked on and my mother used to try to calm me down by saying ‘Dear Dexter.’ I would get bad grades in class, I am sure you can relate to the bullying readers, I sometimes would lose concentration in the class like a bull losing its horns from his head due to the name calling ‘fatty,’ ‘chubby’ or ‘roly poly’and others. But I am Dexter I wanted to say Dexter Pearson, but I didn’t have the guts to stick up for myself at that time, nor today for that matter.

I did try to lose the weight, I joined the Essex group ‘little runners’ who ran through Barking Park. I was around eight at that time, but I looked like a ball bouncing up and down the park lanes and the children would laugh at me as I drudged past them. I tried to give up the Mars bars, my mother used to hide them, but I would find them in the clothes drawer between her bras and underwear, and blushingly I unwrapped them in her absence.

But I am drifting again, like an iceberg drifts in ice-cold water. I am still fat today. I just couldn’t lose the fat. Since my mother, who was the only person who truly loved me died. I am called ‘Chubby Dexter’ today.

I don’t go out anymore as my belly is like a huge balloon which overflows, and I cannot see my feet so I am recluse inside with the shutters drawn as I hide with my diary for my outlet of isolation. The kids knock at the door as it rattles and shout ‘OI CHUBBY’ and then giggle and sneer as they run past the door. My only glimpse of the outside is Nurse Daystron who visits from Barking Hospital every week. I waddle to the door and open it, and there she is with her hair in a bun and tight nurse uniform, and I can feel my cheeks blush as she enters.

‘Hello Dexter, How are you? Weather’s lovely out there would you like to go out for a walk sometime with me?’

She asks that question every time she visits, and I shake my head and lower my gaze as my stomach flutters when I look into her eyes. She is the only one who calls me by my name, and I close my eyes when she says ‘Dexter.’ She takes my blood pressure and always says, ‘you have lost weight,’ but I know that I haven’t lost anything. I mean I sit around all day long and don’t go out for walks as suggested. I try to hold my tea-shirt over my belly so that she won’t notice it, stretching, but the belly doesn’t get hidden it just bulges out.

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‘Dexter are the children still teasing you? Shame on them if they are….’ she says shaking her head. ‘Don’t let their stupid remarks upset you.’

I blush again, feeling the heat on my cheeks like a burning fire. She stays for a couple of minutes and I never say a word. I’m unable to speak, mute like a miming act. I’m unable to get up from the chair to see her out because I’m stuck in it, like fly on some glue, crying and pathetic.

I stare at the ceiling unable to sleep, with the thoughts of Nurse Daystron and her bun, her brown hair and clingy uniform. I want to hold her in my arms but I can’t because I am fat, so enormous I would probably squeeze her too hard in my big arms which are like tree logs. I have to lose weight it’s the only way, but I don’t know how.

‘Hi Dexter, I brought you some flowers’ says Emily. Emily is seven years old. She often comes by through Barking park to see me. I met her when I had to go to Church Elm Medical Centre, and she, like Nurse Daystron, calls me by my name and sees me, not my weight. She is pretty, with pigtails, wearing a dress with pockets and butterflies on it. She puts the flowers onto the table in a vase which I had no idea that I had and sits in front of me with her legs hanging. She keeps moving her legs forward and backward. ‘I want to take off the weight,’ I say mumbling.

‘But why? You are just lovely the way that you are,’ she says. The tears in my eyes are filling up. I love the innocence of children. ‘Please help me,’ I say. She sits there in thought and says, ‘Well hmmm you have to do some exercise. My daddy goes to the park to do that.’ The memories of the children laughing at me go to the front of my mind. ‘The kids will laugh at me.’ She sits and doesn’t say anything. Is there no hope for me? I wonder. Will I be fat forever?

‘I have to go to school now,’ she says as she gets off the big couch, pecks me on the cheek and throws her rucksack on.

It’s night again, and I can’t go to sleep so I look out of the window, and I see some people running through the night. That’s it, I think to myself I have to exercise through the night so that no will see me walking or running. I find some old jogging bottoms and my old tatty trainers and cautiously creep out into the night. There are a few stragglers around, people with their bull dogs who stare at me as I tentatively walk or try to jog and bobble down the road.

Now I run under the moonlight every night. I threw the Mars Bars into the bin and ordered carrots, broccoli and vegetables, and my heart aches as I remind myself of my mother who used to buy me the chocolate. I feel like I’m finally saying goodbye to her. I can’t wait to see Nurse Daystron, my eyes are searching for the doorbell for her to come and see me. The shirt that I wear is now slowly covering my belly which is deflating as I exercise daily through the night, down past the Dagenham Library which I haven’t been too since I was a child.

The night is calm; the moon is glistening like a gemstone in the sky as I have been running down the lanes easily for the past couple of months. The children have stopped banging at the door shouting ‘Chubby’ as I open the door and they stare at my now lean figure with no belly with their jaws dropping so low. I throw some of my old clothes away, the large shirts and trousers which are now double the size of me.

Today is the date of her arrival, as I neaten myself up combing my hair, wearing a clean t-shirt and trousers. She knocks onto the door and walks straight past me in the living room.

‘Hello Dexter, How are you? Weather’s lovely out there would you like to go out for a walk sometime with me?’

‘Yes I would like to do that.’

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She stands still unable to move, that’s the first time she hears me speak to her. She turns around to look at me and her eyes are large as she stares at my shape, unable to move. I stand there looking at her as my confidence grows with my new self and the idea that I can be seen.

‘Gosh Dexter…. Gosh look at you….. You’ve lost soo much weight,’ she stutters.

I proudly stand there, like a winner of a contest showing myself off. ‘But why?’ she asks.

‘Was it the teasing of those deplorable kids?’ she asks. She sits down onto the couch and looks at me and the truth just comes out of my mouth. ‘For you……I did it for you.’ I look into her eyes and she looks back at me. ‘Oh Dexter, you really didn’t have to, to tell you the truth I liked you the way you were, the weight didn’t matter to me.’

I couldn’t believe the words she was saying as she got up, took my arms and led me towards the doorway. The door stood there as a gateway into the unknown of the day as the night was my friend warm, cozy, shielding me from the realities of the day. She looked at me and kissed me on my cheek as she proudly took me through the door into the new dawn which lay ahead for the both of us.

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I hope you enjoyed this short story by Tavinder Kaur New.

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