The stars are out tonight. Thelma Lou, the bloodhound, stops to stare at the them. She sits for several minutes, looking up.
I’ve never seen a dog do that.
“What’re you looking at, girl?” I say, squatting beside her. “Are you looking at stars?”
Thelma Lou keeps staring upward.
I don’t blame her. The sky above is so magnificent I can hardly stand it. Stars are so bright they look like they might fall from the sky and land on me.
My mother says when I was a toddler I liked stars so much I would stand outside, staring upward, wearing a numb look—like my cornbread wasn’t done in the middle.
When I was thirteen, after my father died, I would sit on the porch and make wishes on stars. I wished for all sorts of things. Fast cars, money, a big-screen TV, Barbara Eden.
And I wished to be happy.
I was the most awkward and chubby thirteen-year-old you ever saw. My hair was pure copper. Today, red
hair might be the rage, but back then it was as stylish as a cold booger on a paper plate.
To make matters worse, my mother bought my pants at Sears. I wore “Husky” pants, sold in the back of the store, where chubby boys were routinely executed.
And if anyone doubted I was overweight, my pants bore an actual label on the hindparts which stated: “Husky.”
I did not care for myself.
Still, the males in my family promised I would undergo a transformation one day.
“One day,” my uncle said, “you’ll have a growth spurt, and get skinny, like we all did, just keep your chin up.”
But it wasn’t happening fast enough.
So I took matters into my own hands. My friend, Davis, suggested trying a diet he found in Popular Mechanics Magazine.
The diet consisted…