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I always believed that you would call on me. Back since I was a kid sitting next to mom and Joe on Sundays. While all else were singing, I was picturing you, flowing down and forgiving me for not doing hymns. Or better even making my voice stop cracking so as I could. I don't crack so now, but I still don't much sing. But that you know, right? Cause you know everything. So what do I tell? I might ask your pardon on account of not believing it when I first got your e-mail. And for asking Ms. Sandish who runs this place if a person could expect such a thing when they first come on the line. I figured she knows, but she kept shaking her head, in that confused way she has a habit of whenever I ask her anything, saying, polite as she always is, "I don't quite understand what it is that you are referring to." I did try to tell it to her again, but she just kept shaking her head.
Yours is the first e-mail I have ever written. Pastor Stevens said at church that us being his young forward thinking flock should take part of this Internet here at the library, cause we can reach many people with your good word. So, as you must be in knowledge of, I come to sign on everyday for almost two months. But until this day I had none else to write to.
I will surely talk over your offer to Albert as soon as I get home, and will stop back in tomorrow after work so as I'll have something better to tell.
Here I am as I said I would. I found your offer extremely good. I don't know much about the price for Viagra but am sure that yours is as you say the very best. I spoke to Albert about it straight away after dinner last night, but he says there is nothing wrong with his equipment. He does admit his lack of initiative lately, but says that it is on account of the pounds I put on since our wedding. He notes that the women in my issues of It Magazine, which he takes with him to study in the bathroom, still allow his equipment to work alright and if I would look more like them, his initiative would most surely return.
Thank you for writing again. I assurely understand that it has taken this long your being busy and such, and I feel truly blessed that you are thinking of me at all. The Ephedra sounds very luring. It's a real comfort to know that in case I need it, it is back on the market and legal when purchased from your specific pharmacy. But I think I am making progress. Albert has been very supportive. Every morning he stands with me at the mirror and circles the places with a red marker where he is sure I was not previously fat. This gives me something to recall all day while working at the store. Whenever I feel like eating and catch myself forgetting the plan, I go into the ladies' and lift up my shirt to remind me. I have found that after the first week you stop feeling starving as much and one pack of tic-tacs spaced out just so can take you through a whole day. I have lost 7 pounds already and Albert says his equipment is starting to respond again, but he will not partake with me until I reach my goal, on account it might prohabitate my progress.
I thought I would write again to tell you that Pastor Stevens has taken notice of our work and has gone to say that I have been looking very sevelt. I confessed to him that I had been in touch with you and that you have been a comfort, but that I hadn't heard from you again at all this week. He said that he of course speaks with you everyday, but that there are times when ones like me must be patient with your responses, as you have very important concerns to contend with, and that the thing to focus on was that you made your desires for me apparent. I did tell him it was Albert who had first desired for me to not to be fat, but he said that I should know that Albert was just a vessel, and it was you who really showed the way and gave me the spirit to do this. So if I haven't already said so, I am truly grateful for your guidance and look to hear from you soon.
I also confessed to Pastor Stevens that since I've been writing to you, an accurance has arrived. I started to be getting emails from others tempting to lure me from you using lower prices and free shipping. He explained to me that it is how Satan works and that I must fight it to get your message out. Since then I wrote every single one so far to proclaim that I will never buy from anyone but you, but after each time so many more come, and Albert is starting to wonder that I am getting home so late after work.
I'm sorry that I didn't reply to you faster. Specially since I'd been coming before and after work now on account of having to reply to the other emailers with your message. I wanted to respectfully wonder over your suggestion at getting my bachelors degree diploma online from the fine establishment that you spoke of. When I came on my way to work last Friday to tell you, they had the room closed down for a leak. For a few days there I was fearful at the thought that I wouldn't write to you anymore, but all is well and I am here again.
I am sad to say that Albert doesn't share your idear in regards to a education. He says that excepting with him, I have never been good around smart people. And that while I did some Bs at Mosley High, since he didn't go to college or except with Pastor Stevens or Dr. Dewitt did anyone we know, any more talk about it would make him think that I thought I was somehow better than all them. Of course I never would think like that anyhow, but he felt the need to point out the many occasions when I was not always driving on the right side of smart. This made me sad. I told him that you must already know all that and still you offered me this. But at the word of you he just screwed up his face at me and asked about dinner, then turned the TV up so as not to hear me no more. I went back to the library and printed out your letters in order to prove it, but then thought it might be another show of pride, and it might make him to take your name in vain as I shamefully admit he sometimes does. So I hid them away with my feminine things where he will surely not go.
I figure though maybe it is true. As he says a degree wouldn't do much for me as there is no real promotion at Stan's to be gotten with college. And Albert said that if we ever had that kind of extra money, he would get us a boat to bring to the lake, as that would be a lot more fun.
It is awful kind of you to be thinking of my happiness and such things, but Albert would take offense if I were to talk of his size of length. He says I am doing real good on my diet. I have now lost 18 pounds and he is so proud of me that he asks me to stop by the shop at lunch so that he can show me off to Jeffers and Coops and the rest. He took a picture of Kate Moss that he had ripped out of my magazine (the one where she is naked holding the camera) and holds it up next to me and says very soon I will be just as skinny as she is. And his equipment is working all the time now. Never seems to stop.
Unfortunately I am sad to say that when I ask if we then now can have the baby he says only when he believes me that I won't just use it as a cause to be fat again. I promised and promised but he won't believe me. But what I was thinking might be if you could send me the type of female Viagra pill, I don't know what they are named, but I've heard that they exist.
Actually, I need the opposite. I am drinking cup and cup of coffee, but it doesn't even seem to help. Stan says he's giving me the front counter at the store permanently. Angy was really upset on account of her being there so much longer than me, but Stan says it's just jealousy, that all the girls are jealous of me now and not to pay a mind to it cause I got the front counter because I had earned it. I said that I felt bad and didn't want her mad at me, and had no problem working the appliance section like last year. He just said Christmas season is all about attracting customers and he wants the prettiest girl near the big tree.
Valerie asked what I was using so that she could do it too, cause she hasn't had a lot of luck lately. I told her that she was pretty just the way she was, but she didn't want to listen. So I told her about the tic-tacs, and the marker, and that I'd started talking to you. She said she couldn't imagine that ever being enough to stop her from eating. I told her how after a while you just get sick at the thought of food. Then I thought going to Pastor Stevens might give her the inspiration. I did not come forth to give her your private address. But she sure seems to need help and so if I could ask maybe you could write to her too.
As for me, I do get dizzy an awful lot and as I say am tired always now, but everytime I complain I think of that poor man in Uzbekistan who needs that surgery but his millions are all temporarily tied up, and the American lady stuck in that hotel in Africa who can't come home until she can pay off her bill or the prince from Dubai who needs to escape, all who wrote to me needing help, and so I feel all wrong about complaining. I tried to help, I went to bring my jelly jar that I was saving all the quarters in since I was 7, thinking I could bring it all to the western union like they asked. But Albert stopped me when he saw me doing it and took it away from me, saying he counted upon it being there to put into the slots when he and the guys headed out to play pool. And he keeps asking what is wrong with me and says he's starting to have a thought that maybe there is some other man on my brain. He says now that I have lost the weight and have all these thoughts of college in my head, that I think I am too good for him. It's true what he says about men now pawing around, but I'm not lying when I say about how I am not the littlest bit interested, not the least bit interested now in anyone. So I really really do need those pills I had last discussed to you, or I can't think of what else to do.
It's kind of spooky here at night. I thought it was on account of the lights being off, so I turned some on, but then it was even scarier. I think its all those books just looking at me. Ms. Sandish said that I was welcome to read any one so long as I made sure to put it back in the spot I found it. But I was over nervous I wouldn't remember where that was. And they are all full of stuff I don't know much of, though now I guess I could say that to just about everything. Like I didn't even know before Ms. Sandish brought the bed stuff up for me that there was a shelter down in the basement. I never even would have thought of someone bombing our own Mosley, PA, but then again maybe no one else did neither cause the blanket and pillows is a bit musty like it's been down there for a real long time. I mean no disrespect about that, it was real kind of Ms. Sandish to offer it after I confessed about having nowheres else to go, and being against the rules, I pray she doesn't get in trouble for letting me stay the night.
Its all been mostly like a dream almost. Since being at the hospital I can't put my finger on things. That first day I was brought in after passing out at Stan's, people were so nice. The nurse even patted my hand after sticking the tube in my arm, and told me they were gonna take good care of me. Stan had sent a get better balloon. Even Albert brought me pansies. He stayed with me a good while all the time saying he was so sorry to have allowed me to make my body so skinny. But the next morning everything was different. The new nurse that came in kept sighing after I told her I couldn't swallow all the food she gave and told me how it was an ungodly thing I had done to do this to myself. Then Albert came in yelling, waving about the printed letters of what I wrote you. He kept calling me un-American, naming you Haysoos, saying that I was cheating on him with a Mexican. He ripped those papers apart to pieces and threw it about the bed, then grabbed my pansies away, and said it was some way to appreciate all that he's done for me.
When the nice nurse came back and read my chart she said I was in some bad shape and should really be staying longer, but that on account of Alberts' insurance I couldn't stay more than one more day. She said how now I needed to go home and be at rest for the week, and try to start to keep some food down. I called and called for Albert to come get me, but then I had to take the taxi home. When I got there all my stuff had been tossed about the driveway, and Angy was standing in our doorway. I saw from the window Albert watching tv, but when I tried going in Angy wouldn't let me, because she said Albert wouldn't have me around no more.
It was no better at Stan's. He told me when I had been out so long, he was pressed to give my job to Angy's sister. He said he had no choice, someone had to do the work those three days. And that besides me being so thin makes people think that he isn't paying me enough to eat properly and so it gives him a bad reputation. Valerie was there, but would hardly talk to me on account of Angy saying how now I was the other woman. Though she did say how it was sort of cool that she was now the thinnest there and still could eat all she liked, because Stan told them all that to go losing all that weight like I had was unattractive.
I didn't understand about Pastor Stevens. With him speaking to you everyday I figured as much that he would know of the truth. But he kept saying that he could only help me after I was forgiven, and I could only be forgiven if I confessed. So I thought of things to confess, but he kept talking about the cheating. When I said it wasn't true, he said that's what Mom said too, just before she left Joe and run off with that paint salesman from Marietta, GA. And where is she now? Pastor Stevens wanted to know. I told how she moved again last year but didn't give her last forwarding address. He said, no, I mean where is she now? Which I didn't get, cause I just told him.
I suppose I could go and find her, but I was told I couldn't go nowheres right now on account of the sickness the special doctor there at the hospital said I had, and the treatment he said I needed to come to him every week. He is the doctor the not very nice nurse brought in after I said I couldn't eat all the food, who I thought must be not a very good one cause he was the only one not wearing a white coat. He's the one I told how you encouraged me to lose the weight and go to college. But it was only when I told of our emails that he stopped with the nodding and started to do a lot of writing in his pad. And firstly he says that he thinks I should see him once a week in his office, then he changed his mind and said three times. He also gave me a prescription for something named Risperdal, and so I was wondering if maybe your pharmacy carries it?
As originally published in The Literary Review.