God, I wish I were thin.
I wish I were thin, gorgeous and could get any many I want. You probably think I'm crazy. I mean here I am, sitting at work on my own with a massive double-decker club sandwich in front of me, but I'm allowed to dream aren't I?
Half an hour to go of my lunch break. Half an hour in which to drool over my latest edition of my favorite magazine. Don't get me wrong, I don't read the features, why would I? Thousands of words about how to keep your man, how to spice up your sex life, how to spot if he's being unfaithful are, quite frankly, irrelevant to me. I'll be completely honest with you here, I've never had a proper boyfriend, and the cover lines on the magazines are not the reason I buy them.
If you must know, I buy them, all of them, for the pictures. I sit and I study each glossy photograph for minutes at a time, drinking in the models' long lithe limbs, their tiny waists, their glowing golden skin. I have a routine: I start with their faces, eyeing each sculpted cheekbone, heart-shaped chin, and I move slowly down their bodies, careful not to miss a muscle.
I have a few favorites. In the top drawer of my chest of drawers in my bedroom at home is a stack of cut-out pictures of my top supermodels, preferred poses. Linda's there for her sex appeal, Christy's there for her lips and nose and Cindy is there for the body.
And before you think I'm some kind of closet lesbian, I've already told you the one thing I would wish for if I rubbed a lamp and a gorgeous, bare-chested genie suddenly appeared. If I had one wish in all the world I wouldn't wish to win the lottery. Nor would I wish for true love. No, if I had one wish I would wish to have a model's figure, probably Cindy Crawford's, and I would extend the wish into having and keeping a model's figure no matter what I eat.
Because, tough as it is to admit to a total stranger, I, Jemima Jones, eat a lot. I catch the glances, the glares of disapproval on the occasions I eat out in public, and I try my damnedest to ignore them. Should someone, some 'friend' trying to be caring and sharing, question me gently, I tell them I have a thyroid problem, or a gland problem, and occasionally I'll tack on the fact that I have a super-slow metabolism as well. Just so there's no doubt, just so people don't think that the only reason I am the size I am is because of the amount I eat.
But you're not stupid, I know that, and, given that approximately half the women in the country are a size 16 or over, I would ask you to try and understand about my secret binges, my constant cravings, and see that it's not just about food.
You don't need to know much about my background, suffice to say that my childhood wasn't happy, that I never felt loved, that I never got over my parents' divorce as a young child, and that now, as an adult, the only time I feel really comforted is when I seek solace in food.
So here I am now, at twenty-seven years old, bright, funny, warm, caring and kind. But of course people don't see that when they look at Jemima Jones. They simply see fat.