“Oh my gosh. Nan is that you? You look absolutely gorgeous.”
Nan twirled for her best friend April.
“It is me and I knew I was going to surprise the socks off of you.”
Nan and April were high school besties with a friendship that lasted them into their 40s. They lived in different states and only got to see each other once a year.
“You must have lost like 80 pounds...”
“Well 85.5 pounds to be accurate.” Nan cut in.
April shook her head from side to side and looked her friend up and down.
They were at the Airport. Nan was picking her up. They were getting stares now from nosy travellers. April was not the silent voice type.
“Well, let’s get out of here. Admire me some more in the car.”
Nan grabbed the handle of April’s suitcase and started to pull in the direction of the airport parking.
“I’m never going to get over this. I can’t believe you actually did it. I mean sure, every year you say you’re going to do it but doesn’t everyone. I mean, last year Carl said he was going to get some ab work done in the gym. Well the only ab work he got was lifting those beer cans from table to mouth. Are those even abs? In the arms I mean. What is ...”
Nan smiled to herself. Anyone else would have though that April was a bit over the top but not Nan. Nan loved April like a sister. It’s possible that her long somewhat obnoxious comments may have kept Nan away from trouble in high school. Who has the strength for mischief after half an hour non stop of Alice’s warnings and rantings.
Soon they were on the road and headed to Nan’s cottage on the Florida coast.
“Well enough about Carl. It’s really just same old with him. What about Tom. How is he taking it?”
“Oh for heaven sake. All the weight loss I mean. Listen you’ve been a plump girl for a long time. We both have. Now, I’m the one left with all the extra curves. Some men kinda find it hard to lose all that extra woman. So how’s he handling it?”
Nan laughed heartily as she pulled into the palm lined driveway.
“Uh oh. Is that a good laugh or a bad laugh. Did you have to leave him. I’ve seen all the movies about it. Wife becomes babe. Wife loses interest in old sloppy Joe husband. Wife finds nice hot young Caribbean guy....”
April was interrupted by Nan’s laughter. She was doubling over as she exited the car.
“April, you are still the best. I’ve missed you so much! This is going to be a great reunion.”
April stared at Nan. Nan was trying to compose herself. They were now taking the bags out of the car.
“Nan, I’m serious. I know about these...”
Just then the front door of the house opened wide. April turned to see a figure standing there. Her face dropped.
“Oh my gosh. It’s true. You ditched Tom didn’t you? And who is this hunk of a....wait. Tom is that you?”
April’s jaw dropped.
Nan came up beside her friend as the man approached closer.
“April, if you hadn’t had me laughing so hard all the way here, I would have had the air enough in my lungs to tell you.”
April shook her head from side to side. “Oh my gosh, is this an ambush of the slimmies? What gives? Tom, you’re gorgeous.”
April’s voice was dry.
Nan and Tom were high school sweet hearts that later tied the knot; as were April and Carl. April knew that it wasn’t just Nan who had put on the pounds over the years. Nan and Tom had both gained weight steadily over the years; as had April and Carl.
Tom reached out to embrace April.
“It’s great to see you again April. It really has been too long.”
“Well thank God not everything has changed. You’re still a terrible liar.” April said embracing Tom.
“Oh come now sister from another mother, is that any way to greet your best friends hubby?”
Nan laughed some more.
April looked from Nan to Tom and from Tom to Nan. Then she walked straight into the house.
“I need a drink.”
April walked into the familiar house and headed for the bar. But there was no bar. The counter remained but instead of the assorted liquor that April was familiar with seeing, there were fruit baskets and scented candles.
“Tom! Nan! Get in here!” Tom and Nan raced in behind April.
“Are you ok?” Nan asked.
“I am but something is not ok in here. Where is the bar? You know, the liquor stand that I love to visit at your house? The one that used to be right here?”
April pointed to the fruits and scented candles.
“Well, yeah...about that...” Nan started to say.
“Don’t tell you’re a vegeholic now or something. Say it ain’t true sister.” April pleaded.
Nan laughed and Tom joined in.
“Well, it could be described like that I guess.” Tom said coming up beside Nan and placing his arms around her shoulders.
“Why do I feel like this is some kind of an ambush. You two look positively amazing. So stop it could you?”
“Stop what Nan asked curiously?”
“Stop looking so darn amazing.” April pouted. “I think I need a seat.” April plopped onto the sofa.
“Well, you’re right.” Nan said as she and Tom joined April on the long sofa.
“Rubbing it in my face too? You gorgeous psychopaths.” April covered her face and pretended to sob.
“It’s so hard to get a serious word in with you.” Nan said trying to recover.
“Then don’t. I am on vacation. Can we just leave serious at the door please.” April then sat up in the sofa. “What happened to you guys anyway?”
“I’m glad you asked.” Tom said sounding rather serious. He cleared his throat.
Nan took a deep breathe.
“There is something we want to share with you April. It is rather serious.”
April grabbed a sofa cushion and squeezed it in her lap.
“Go easy on me, you two. I haven’t taken my meds yet for the day.”
“Well, as you know, I have been making this resolution for seven years now to lose the weight and be more careful bout my health.”
April nodded, squeezing the pillow a little more.
“Well, the unthinkable happened and I didnt have much of a choice. I got a clogged artery and my pressure was shooting through the roof. Last summer, I wasn’t visiting my mom when I couldn’t take your calls. I was hospitalized for two weeks.”
April gasped, leaned forward and grabbed Nan’s hands.
“Why didnt you tell me? Tom I blame you too,”
“I’m sorry. She made me promise not to tell.” Tom said.
“April, I didnt want to worry you. But I also knew it was a battle I had to fight alone and win first. For the first time I really understood the danger of the weight I was carrying.”
“Did they put you on meds for the weight.” April asked squeezing Nan’s hand even more.
“Nope! I am proud to say I did it all on my own. I started walking every day. We changed the food and the liquor in the house, I meditated and I read a lot about being healthy.”
“What about you- former lug nut? Did you get in trouble too?” April asked looking at Tom with unforgiving eyes.
“Actually, I was inspired by her resolution. I figured it could be a great journey for both of us.” Tom smiled as he said it.
April looked at Nan and then at Tom. She allowed her eyes to move over them from head to toe and then toe to head very slowly. She stared off into space for a few minutes as she processed what they said.
Finally April spoke.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m recruited you could say...and I recruit Carl in also. ‘YOLO’ so, where do we start. I admit, it’s not the vacation I was hoping for but this one may be a lot more life changing-literally. Make me into a slimmy.
April laughed a hearty laugh and they embraced one another.