Sunday, August 21, 2011
“You are so fat!” shouted the monkeys as Abigail went to eat her breakfast. “You shouldn’t eat anymore, you might explode!”
“Yeah, that’s it,” teased the lioness, “eat some more food. That’ll help you to lose the weight!”
“Oh, realize you were getting too thin, did we?” laughed the hyenas.
“Don’t listen to them,” comforted Lizzy, the giraffe. “You’re… you’re fine.”
“Thanks Lizzy…” sighed Abigail. She knew that Lizzy was trying to be a good friend, but she also knew that Lizzy thought she was fat too. Abigail also knew that she knew that she was fat. No matter what she tried to do, she just kept putting on more weight. It had been that way since she was little.
Abigail first came to the city zoo when she was three months old. She had been saved from the wild after her mother had been killed, and she was left for dead by the other hippos. The zoo brought her in and gave her a beautiful habitat with lots of water to swim in, and nice places for her to bask in the sunlight. The happiness wasn’t meant to last it seemed though, because moments after arriving, a nasty old parrot who was in a habitat near hers starting yelling, “Woah, you fat! Woah, you fat! Woah, you fat!”
Up until this point she had never thought about her weight. She didn’t remember much of before she had gotten there, but she remembered her mother, and her mother was very large, but she began to convince herself that she had only looked large because she was so small. She worried that her mother had actually been quite thin, and she, for whatever reason, was a fat calf.
For the first several months, she ate very little, refusing to even look at the food that was thrown into the habitat with her. She hated how weak she felt, but she hoped that by not eating she would lose some of her girth. This whole time though, more and more animals would continue to call her fat.
Lizzy was moved to the city zoo from a zoo on the other side of the country. She was nice and seemed to look past Abigail’s weight. She just simply liked to talk to Abigail, and was concerned that she hadn’t eaten in so long.
“You need to eat honey,” Lizzy would coo over from her habitat nearby. “Don’t listen to those beasts. Not eating isn’t going to help you, it’s just going to hurt you more.”
Up to this point, the zoologists had run several tests on Abigail, trying to figure out why she would not eat, and they worried they were going to lose her. She was still young, and she needed to eat, but they couldn’t seem to make her.
Shortly after Lizzy came, the zoologists had run out of patience. They weren’t going to let her die. By this point, she was barely able to lift her head. She would lie in the cove where she slept at night, and struggle to pull herself out to the water, to no avail. When the zoologist, name Stacy, came into her habitat the one day, she didn’t even seem to worry about her own safety, she walked right up to Abigail with some contraption that Abigail was confused by, and stabbed a sharp object into her.
Abigail wanted to wail out, and even though she never thought of herself as being a ferocious, or dangerous hippo, she even had the desire to attack Stacy, but by this point, it was even difficult to keep her eyes open.
The sharp object that had been stabbed into Abigail, she found out later, was a feeding tube. The zoologists decided that if Abigail refused to eat, then they would make her. This fact upset Abigail so much that that night she cried, alone in her cove. All the work she had done, and they did this to her. How we should she ever be thin like the other animals in the zoo?
Every day, Stacy would come in and stab the needle back into Abigail and Abigail would cry as food was pumped into her against her will. After a week, she started to feel stronger. By the eighth day, she was delighted to be able to walk to her pool and go for a swim. The water felt so good on her dried skin. She was happy. That is, until the other animals saw her.
“Oh, fatty’s still around?” asked the lioness. “I had assumed that you had died of obesity over these last few months since no one had seen you.”
“You’re as fat as ever!” shouted the monkeys.
“You might as well be a whale!” cackled the hyena.
“I’m glad to see you again,” comforted Lizzy. “I had been worried about you. I hadn’t seen you in so long.”
Abigail heard Lizzy’s voice, but felt worse that ever. All this time refusing to eat, but apparently she was still just as fat. She lugged herself back to her cove as Lizzy shouted to come back out, to no avail.
After that day, Abigail was tired of fighting it. She hated herself for it, but she decided to start eating the food she was given. She might as well be fat and able to move, than fat and be stuck in one spot all day.
Abigail was now three years old, and had now tripled in size. She felt her fat jiggle as she walked from her cove to get her food.
“Really,” Lizzy reached her head as close to Abigail’s habitat as she could. “Maybe this is just how hippos are supposed to be? I wouldn’t know…”
Abigail didn’t reply, she just shoved her face into her food and ate her tears as they mixed in.
Suddenly, there was a loud noise from the door where Stacy would come in from to see Abigail. It wasn’t the sound of the door opening, Abigail knew that sound well, it was louder. Before long, however, the door did open, but Stacy didn’t walk through it. At first, Abigail wasn’t sure what she was seeing, but then she saw a large gray animal cross through the door, into the habitat. Her first thought was just how fat it was, but then she saw its face and felt a feeling she didn’t understand. Later, she would be told it was shyness.
The large animal walked in, looking rather confused, but then saw Abigail, and its face calmed down. It dropped into the pool and swam over to her. “Hello,” it said, “my name is Rex, what’s yours?”
“A-a-a-Abigail!” she stuttered.
“I guess we’re roommates now?”
“I guess,” she almost whispered. “I just hope that you’re okay living with someone as fat as I am,” she sighed.
“Fat?!” he exclaimed. “You’re beautiful!”