Heft - By Liz Moore

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The first thing you must know about me is that I am colossally fat. When I knew you I was what one might call plump but I am no longer plump. I eat what I want & furthermore I eat whenever I want. For years I have made very little effort to reduce the amount that I eat for I have seen no cause to. Despite this I am neither immobile nor bedridden but I do feel winded when I walk more than six or seven steps, & I do feel very shy and sort of encased in something as if I were a cello or an expensive gun.

I have no way of knowing exactly what I weigh but I estimate that it is between five and six hundred pounds. The last time I went to a doctor’s office was years ago and back then I weighed four hundred eighty pounds & they had to put me on a special scale. The doctor looked at me & told me I was very surely on a path toward early death.

Second. In my letters to you these two decades I have been untruthful by omission. For shortly after I last saw you a variety of circumstances combined to make it impossible for me to continue my academic career. About this—about many things—I have been unforthcoming. My references to former friends and colleagues are memories. I have not worked as a professor for eighteen years.

Last & most important: I no longer go out of my house.

Fortunately it is a very nice house & largely I am proud of it. I did not purchase it; it was bestowed upon me. It is 25 feet wide. Very wide for this block. & once it was very lovely inside and out, decorated very nicely, O this when I was a small boy. But now I fear I have allowed it to fall into a sort of haunted disrepair. Only scraps of its loveliness remain: the piano (I played when I was a boy); the bookshelves around the fireplace; the furniture, which once was what they call high-end, but at this point has been sinking slowly toward the floor for forty years because it has borne the weight of me on its back. There are nice things on the upper floors I suppose but I haven’t seen them in a decade. I have no reason to go up there. I couldn’t if I tried. My bedroom and everything I need are on this floor, my little world, & outside my window is the only view I need. The state of the house is one of the things I’m most ashamed of, for I have always loved the house, & sometimes when I am sentimental I feel the house loves me as well.

Because I no longer go outside, I have become very good at ordering whatever I need online. My home sometimes feels like a shipping center; every day, sometimes twice a day, somebody brings something to me. The FedEx man, the UPS man. So you see I’m not entirely a shut-in because I must sign for these things. And what leaves my house does so in garbage bags that I toss to the curb from my top step, very late at night, when it’s dark out.

There are companies now for everything. One for bringing you your books and newspapers and magazines. One for sending you supplies you might need from a pharmacy. Even one that lets you order your groceries online and then brings them to your house for you. An old-fashioned concept in some ways, a wonderful innovation in others. Once a week I select my supplies on their website. They have everything, this company—everything you could possibly think of. Prepared foods & raw ingredients. Desserts & breakfasts & wine & toilet paper. Cheese & deli meat & ice cream & cake & bagels & Pop’ems, little doughy confections that Entenmann’s bakes & then sprinkles with holiday-themed colors. Now it is October & my Pop’ems are orange and black.

A man brings my food to my home on Tuesday nights. I made sure to choose the after 5 p.m. option when I joined, which pleases me I like to think the deliveryman might believe I work all day and am just getting home. I’m very silly in this way! On the phone with customer service representatives, I casually mention family or work. How are you today, Mr Opp? asks the lady representative from Bank of America,