You’re not fat
Though you could get toned
But it’s not your fault—
You’re just big boned
Written by Heather Wells
That’s what Tad Tocco, my remedial math assistant professor, says as I walk up to him that morning in Washington Square Park.
He doesn’t kiss me, because our relationship is totally illicit. Professors—especially tenure track assistant professors in the math department—aren’t allowed to have romances with their students.
Even students who, like me, are practically thirty, work as an assistant director in one of the college’s dormitories, and are taking the course pass/fail anyway.
“Of course I came,” I say, trying to sound like there’d never been any doubt. Except, of course, when I’d rolled over a half-hour earlier and looked at the clock, and seen the big hand on the twelve, and the little hand on the six, all I’d wanted to do was pull the covers back over my head and hunker down for another two and a half hours of blissful sleep. I mean, isn’t that the whole point of living two blocks from where you work? So you can sleep in until the absolute last minute?
But I’d promised.
And now I’m glad I’d dragged myself out from beneath my cozy comforter. Because Tad looks great. The early morning sunlight is glinting off his long blond hair—pulled back in a ponytail that’s almost longer than mine—and off the golden hairs on his bare legs, as well.
And I can see a lot of those golden leg hairs, thanks to the tiny running shorts he’s wearing.
Hello, God, are You there? It’s me, Heather. Just wanted to say thank You. Thank You for the bright sunshine and the clear cool air and the pretty spring flowers, bursting into bloom.
Thank You for tenure track assistant professors in tiny running shorts, as well. These things really are worth getting up two and a half hours earlier than I need to. If I had any idea, I’d have started getting up this early a long time ago.
“So I figured we’d take it slow,” Tad informs me. He’s doing stretches on a park bench. His thigh muscles are lean and hard, without an ounce of fat on them. Even when in a relaxed position, Tad’s thighs are firm as stone. I know this because I have felt them. Even though we are forbidden by our mutual employer, New York College, from having romantic relationships with students, Tad and I are sneaking around behind everybody’s back.
Because when you’re both in your late twenties to early thirties, and you’re taking a remedial math class pass/fail just so you can take real classes later anyway, who even cares?
Besides which, it’s been approximately forever since I’ve gotten any. What was I supposed to do, wait until May, when my course is over, before jumping his bones? Yeah. Like that was going to happen.
Especially considering Tad’s bones. I mean, the guy is fit—partly due to his athletic lifestyle (he runs, swims laps over at the sports center, and plays on a killer Frisbee team), and partly due to the fact that he eats extremely healthfully.
If you consider not eating meat healthy, which I am not completely convinced I do.
When I am in a relaxed position, my thighs feel spongy. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t run, swim, or play Frisbee of any kind, and also due to the fact that I will eat anything if it has chocolate sauce or ketchup on it. Or even if it’s just plain, as in the case of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (which Tad will eat, too, because they are fried in vegetable oil, not animal lard. Although I notice that when Tad eats Krispy Kremes, he enjoys just one and seems satisfied, whereas I have to consume the entire box, as I cannot stop thinking about them until I know all the Krispy Kremes are gone. What’s up with that?).
Wait. Why am I thinking about Krispy Kremes? We’re supposed to be exercising.
“You want to stretch out?” Tad asks me, as he is pressing the back of his heel into his butt. I know that Tad’s butt is as rock-hard as his thighs. My butt, on the other hand, is even spongier than my thighs. Although it’s big enough that I can touch it with the back of my heel quite easily. It’s hardly a stretch at all.
“Sure,” I say.
As I stretch, I notice that all the runners in the park are wearing shorts, like Tad. I’m the only one in leggings. Or, should I say, yoga pants. Because no way am I putting on a pair of leggings. Let’s face it, Mischa Barton I am not.
That’s why I was so glad when I found a pair of yoga pants that are almost bell bottomed. They’re what I’m wearing instead of leggings or running shorts. I’m hoping the bell-bottoms will balance me out, so I don’t look, you know, like a Weeble.
“Okay,” Tad says, smiling down at me. He is wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, which make him look especially professorial. I love his glasses, because you really can’t tell that behind those lenses, he has the most beautiful blue eyes ever. Until he takes them off. Which he only does at bedtime. “Four times around is a mile. Five kilometers is about three miles. So I usually go around about twelve times. Does that sound all right? We’ll take it nice and slow, since this is your first day.”
“Oh,” I say. “Don’t worry about me. Go at your own pace. I’ll catch up.”
Tad’s golden eyebrows constrict. “Heather. Are you sure?”
“Of course,” I say, with a laugh. “I’ll be fine. It’s just a little morning jog.”
“Heather,” Tad says, still looking concerned. “Don’t try to shrug this off like it’s no big deal. I know this is a big step for you, and I’m really proud of you just for showing up. The truth is, I care about you, and your physical health is really important to me. And race training is serious business. Do it wrong, and you could seriously injure yourself.”
Athletes! They’re so particular. Morning jog, race training. Who even cares? Any way you say it, it still spells death to me.
Wait… did I think that? I didn’t mean it. No, really. This is going to be fun. I’m getting into shape. Because, like Tad keeps telling me, I’m not fat. I just need to tone up a little.
“You go ahead,” I tell him, with a smile. “I’ll be right behind you.”
Tad shrugs, gives me a good-bye wink—I guess he knows as well as I do that he’s going to leave me in his dust—and takes off.