The next block is home to a few trendy clothing stores, a bar that is currently closed, a cell phone store, a small shop that sells cheap accessories and handbags, and a national-chain drugstore. It is more crowded than the block on which you live.\n\nAs you approach the cell phone store, two gentlemen standing outside [[turn to notice you.|SPOTTED]] They seem to be in their mid-twenties, and are both dressed in jeans and crisp button-down shirts.\n\nYou take a deep breath and [[keep walking.|WHY]]
Years of silent suffering suddenly coalesce within you into an explosive power that endows you with superhuman strength. You attack both men with your bare hands, crushing the skull of one on the sidewalk outside the cell phone store, ripping the spine of the other right out of his neck. \n\nAs the devastated corpses sink onto the pavement on either side of you, resolving into blood-soaked heaps of useless meat, people on the street begin screaming in horror, and running away. \n\nYour only regret is that neither man probably had time to fear your vengeance before they died.\n\nYou are convicted of murder and put into a dark hole forever.\n\n[[Or not.|The block after]]
It's morning. You are at home. You feel okay, a little bit hungry, perhaps.\n\nIn the kitchen, you discover you are out of milk and bread. You resolve to go to the corner grocery store to buy some. The store is two blocks away from your city apartment.\n\n[[Get dressed.|Clothes]]
You go downstairs and step out of your building. The sun is shining. Several people are walking down the street. The cafe next door is filled with people brunching at tables outside. \n\nThe smells of hot bacon and fresh biscuits fill the air. You are hungry, but you really only have money for groceries right now. Also, wouldn't it be strange to go to brunch alone, in a crowded cafe, filled with groups of people. [[Wouldn't people stare.|Eating in public]] They would probably think you had no friends to go to brunch with. \n\nYou don't want this to stop you, but it does. It is also about the money, though.\n\nYou turn and walk in the opposite direction, [[toward the corner store.|The next block]]\n\n
There is nothing here that will fit you. \n\nYou pretend to look at the accessories for a few minutes before leaving.\n\n[[Go to the next store.|COLD COMFORT]]
You buy a skirt you do not particularly like, but because it technically fits on a basic level and is on sale. You think you will feel better if you buy something. You forget your closet full of clothes at home. \n\nYou no longer have money for milk and bread.\n\n[[Go home.|Inside]]
You can tell when someone is looking, when someone is appraising. You can feel it. You can feel it as though their eyes have invisible fingers reaching through the air between you to poke and prod your flesh, it feels like a violation it feels like being hurt but [[they have done nothing wrong yet have they|The next block]]
You stop and turn to face the two men. "What did you just say?" you ask.\n\nThe man who spoke looks at you, half amused, totally unconcerned. He says slowly, louder, halting on every word, as though he thinks you are very stupid: "I said I. LOVE. SOME. FAT. PUSSY." His friend laughs harder.\n\n[[--Reason with him.|IS WRONG WITH YOU]]\n[[--Keep walking.|The block after]]
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There is nothing here that will fit you.\n\n[[Go to the next store.|NOPE NOPE NOPE]]
There is nothing here that will fit you. \n\n[[Go to the next store.|NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE]]
Two Blocks\n
A galaxy of possiblities presents itself.\n\n[[--Wear something colorful and attention-grabbing.|LOOK]]\n[[--Wear something simple and classic.|BLEND]]\n[[--Wear black.|DISAPPEAR]]\n\n
As you pass the two men, you hear one of them breathe at you, and say in a quiet, deep, dry tone, as though he is whispering in your ear, as though it is intimate, as though the space you occupy is actually his and he knows it: "Damn, I love me some of that FAT PUSSY."\n\nHis friend explodes in giggles.\n\n[[--Pretend not to hear him.|The block after]]\n[[--Confront him.|WHAT]]
You put on your favorite black dress and black leggings, and lace up black ankle boots. \n\nYou look at yourself in your full-length mirror, and smile. You feel tough and strong, like a person who knows how to take care of herself.\n\n[[Leave the house.|OUTSIDE]]
You don't like eating in public. You don't like people to see you eat. You imagine what they must think of you. You imagine they are snickering if you get a burger instead of a salad. You imagine they are staring just out of your view and thinking to themselves about how disgusting you are. You imagine they are wondering why you think you are entitled to eat, anything, ever. \n\nIt's not really the people that are the problem, though, most of the time. Most of the time, the people say nothing and nobody even notices you are there. But you know, like everybody knows, that they could be thinking those things. Your imagination is far worse. \n\nYour internalized worries that they will judge you harshly, even without speaking a word, are a far more effective disciplinary force than anyone actually saying anything to you, now.\n\n[[The corner store, then.|OUTSIDE]]
Determined to be responsible, you leave the clothing shop and go to buy your groceries at the store on the corner, right next door. You select milk and bread. You also pick out a pint of cherry ice cream.\n\nAt the checkout counter, the man working the register is new and unknown to you. You smile pleasantly and say "Hello," as you place your purchases on the counter.\n\nThe man looks at you with a somber expression. "I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but I was watching you walk around the store and I feel like I have to say something. You are too pretty a girl to let yourself go on being the way you are!"\n\nYou hear yourself laughing nervously, but it sounds as if you're somewhere else, in a different room. Behind a closed door.\n\n"Your health will suffer. And then I see you buying ice cream and I worry that you're not taking your life seriously."\n\n[[...|ESC]]\n
You keep walking. You feel angry. Or embarrassed. Or ashamed. Or all three. You feel exposed. You feel unsafe. You feel vulnerable. You feel hate. You hate the man. You hate his friend. You hate yourself. Maybe. [[Maybe you don't hate yourself.|More than survive]]\n\nDistracted, you [[trip.|Down]]
You close the door behind you.\n\nYou leave all the lights off.\n\nYou go to your bed.\n\nYou are still hungry.\n\nBut you will always be hungry.\n\nYou're supposed to be hungry.\n\nBecause you are [[fat.|The end]]
Some things in this store will fit you, but you do not like them, and cannot afford them anyway.\n\n[[--Buy something anyway, spending your grocery money.|Will I feel better if I participate]]\n[[--Leave the store.|Milk and bread]]
You walk towards home with your head down. A middle aged woman appproaching you in the other direction tries to get your attention, tries to make eye contact. You clench your fists so tightly you can feel stars exploding in the meat of your fingers.\n\nAs she gets closer, she leans toward you, smiling broadly, and says, "I love your shoes!"\n\nOh. Oh. \n\n[[Oh.|Inside]]
You leave the store, without your groceries, without paying, and [[go home.|Oh oh sorry thank you]]
It's a fight, isn't it. You fight the self-loathing and the self-loathing fights back, because the self-loathing is sentient and purposeful and strong. Somewhere inside you there is an unblemished unashamed unapologizing voice that says you do not need to hate yourself, that hating yourself goes against every instinct, every blood-pumping impulse driving you toward survival, that the forces that tell you that you are a thing to hate are external and that they are also wrong because inside you know you are not the ugly inhuman monster that the world around you keeps saying you are, and you believe it but you also don't believe it.\n\nIt's enough to make you question your own [[reality.|The block after]]
You put on a tasteful grey sweater and khakis, with cute but comfortable shoes.\n\nYou look at yourself in your full-length mirror, and smile. You feel stylish and put-together.\n\n[[Leave the house.|OUTSIDE]]
"Why would you say that to me?"\n\n"Why would you say that to a stranger?"\n\n"What is it supposed to accomplish?"\n\n"What do you gain from trying to ruin the day of someone you don't even know?"\n\nThe man laughs and rolls his eyes and he calls you a fat bitch and his friend calls you a fat bitch.\n\n[[Murder them both.|STOP]]
You have an enviable wardrobe from which to select your outfit. You have compiled this wardrobe over many years, with some items over a decade old. Your collection of clothing is as large as it is because you take immaculate care of it and you almost never give anything away or throw anything out. Many of your clothes show signs of having been mended more than once.\n\nThis is because clothing, for you, is often difficult to procure. It is a scarce and unpredictable resource, and on the rare and shocking occasions when you find something you like, odds are favorable that you will never find it again. You have had this experience before. \n\nWhen your opportunities are plentiful, you tend to stockpile clothes as though you are expecting a prolonged period of scarcity. As you should. Because when scarcity comes you will be ready. And scarcity always comes.\n\nSometimes, you have given things away and then months or years later bitterly regretted doing so. This is why you keep things now.\n\n[[Open your closet.|Wonders]]
You wear a bright abstract floral dress, covered all over in vivid explosions of red and orange and blue and green. Under it you wear a poofy pink petticoat. Over it you wear a purple cardigan. You put on combat boots decorated in rainbow glitter and lace them up tight.\n\nYou look at yourself in your full-length mirror, and smile. You feel cheerful and happy.\n\n[[Leave the house.|OUTSIDE]]
You are face down on the sidewalk. You don't remember falling. The concrete smells faintly of urine, though whether human or animal is impossible to guess. \n\nYou stand up very quickly, before too many people can notice. A woman passing tries to ask if you are okay, but you can't make eye contact, snapping at her that you are fine -- as though saying it makes it true -- desperate to avoid drawing further attention to yourself.\n\nThe first thing you check is your clothing. It has been torn by the fall. You are heartbroken. \n\nAlso, your knees are bleeding.\n\n[[--Stop into the nearest store to buy something else to wear.|NOPE]]\n[[--Go home.|Inside]]
There is nothing here that will fit you.\n\n[[Go to the next store.|So many scarves]]
(based on a true story)\nby Lesley Kinzel
You enter the nearest clothing store. There is nothing here that will fit you. Everything in the store is too small even for you to try on.\n\nTwo salespeople eye you suspiciously. You realize they are wondering what business you could possibly have in their store.\n\n[[Go to the next store.|NOPE NOPE]]