Salome Magazine
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LAce Posted Monday, February 17th, 2003
Black Pants
Sallie Pullman

I just got home from work--well actually the Irish pub up the street where I had 2 ciders, and there is a remote control for the cigarette machine. My waist hurts like hell--angry red creases mark where my pants hug my middle in a suffocating fashion. I understand more about the concept of torture now. And pain. If I was going to torture someone I would use black, polyester/wool mix pants with a faux satin lining.

In the morning these pants seem slightly small, but like they might stretch. You, the victim, have no fear about wearing them; (and as the torturer I feel smug, knowing you have no idea.) In fact, you feel slightly bold-because you know they are not the most flattering article of clothing. They are down right ugly. But you want to conquer the pants, because you are cute and smart and trying desperately to have a good attitude in the morning. Besides, these are basic black pants, classic in all eras of fashion. How bad can wearing them for one day be? (But secretly you do know, somewhere deep within your heart, that by the end of the day these pants will hurt.)

By noon the torture is uncomfortable; your middle feels bloated...But it is still bearable to feel round.

"You should know better than to try to wear pants you cannot fit into," scolds your sadistic inner voice.

You are comfortable only from the waist down. It's the middle of your belly, where your ribcage and hipbones leave a mysterious gap of bone that is agonizing. From the waist up you feel squeezed like an overripe melon until just below your breasts. But it is only a thin line cutting into your waist that is uncomfortable.

"You can bear it, should bear it, you must…," pipes up the voice. "It's not like your middle is as swollen as hers was. You are not pregnant with death."

Before she died she was pale yellow, and her skin was like soft powder, paper--almost translucent, stretching with effort to keep her within. Her belly was so swollen it seemed like she had swallowed the peach from James and the Giant…Except the peach was rotting inside her and through the tiny holes that could be insect bites yellow bile, syrup of the flesh, leaked onto her shirt, her robe, the sheets and stuck in dried crusty pieces on her skin. The last time her stomach had been this large, she was pregnant with her third child.

"When it is your turn…when you begin to swell, then you will understand over-round middles and ONLY then will the pain be real. Until then you can bear it. You are not entitled to whine! You do not deserve the luxury."

At 2 pm, post-enchilada lunch, no cheese, you are in the bathroom. Your reflection passes you in the peach-marbled, well-mirrored private entry before the stalls.

Your pants are both too big and too small. They sag in the crotch like your little brother's pants did when he was Charlie Chaplin for Halloween. The legs are too wide-swaths of black cloth that don't even feel good. And the butt--well you could fit two of yours in them. They are only the right length because you are wearing black go-go boots with 3-inch square heels. A gift from mom. But your waist hurts like hell.

I saw on television, a History Channel special, that during Viet Nam they used knot torture. The more a victim moved the tighter the ropes got. They cut into flesh and caused angry red welts, bleeding cuts, and then scars.

The pants are off now--have been for an hour. I have angry red welts on my belly--the precursors to scars. Did I mention these were my mother's pants?

If I were the torturer you would wear black pants--polyester/wool mix with a faux satin lining.

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