“Hanging in.” I’m glad I put on a nice pair of black pants and a red blouse before coming over. I’ve lived in my sweats for the past two weeks, but I know Jasmine wouldn’t take kindly to me showing up in tattered sweats. She’s wearing a blue dress that accentuates her curves. She has eight years on my forty-five, and yet, looks twenty years younger. As always, I envy her curls, which are as natural as her generous bosom.
“You can do this. You’re strong.” Jasmine ushers me inside. I take off my shoes before following her into the dining room, which is empty.
“Where’s Bob?” I ask, looking around.
“Working late. Again.” Jasmine’s lips purse together before she relaxes them.
“Something wrong between you two?” I ask, concerned. She and Bob seem to have a solid marriage, but who can ever really know for sure?
“He’s just been working too much lately. He says his boss is coming down hard on the team, but he has seniority, damn it. What good is seniority if it means you can’t have dinner with your wife every now and then?” Bob is on a marketing team, which means erratic hours. He was supposed to cut back on his hours last year in an agreement he made with Jasmine, but he claimed he couldn’t do it without jeopardizing his job.
“Oh, well. It’s just you and me. We’ll have some major sister bonding time.” I sit down at the table and start loading my plate with beef stroganoff, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and salad. Everything smells good, and my sister is an excellent cook. I take a bite of the beef stroganoff, and it stays down. That’s another problem I’ve been having—not throwing up my food. The stroganoff sits well, so I take another bite, followed by a bite of mashed potatoes. Both stay down. I’m able to eat several bites of everything before my stomach starts to rebel. I set down my fork, not wanting to press my luck.
“That’s all you’re eating?” Jasmine asks, pausing before taking a healthy bite of stroganoff herself. “You used to put away three plates of my stroganoff by yourself without breaking a sweat.”
“I haven’t been eating much lately,” I say, staring down at my plate. Suddenly, the stroganoff doesn’t look as appetizing, and I push the plate away from me. I take a sip of water to keep my food down.
“I can tell. You’ve lost weight.” Jasmine’s tone is disapproving, even though she’s normally encouraging me to eat healthier and to work out. To her credit, she never comments on my weight in a negative way. Whenever I point out that her eating habits aren’t exactly exemplary, she laughs and tells me I should do as she says, not as she does.