It was a warm summer day, and there were 3 travelers hitting the very big city of Indianapolis. (Hey, any place that had more than a strip mall and a walmart was big to us…) Each of us had something special in mind that we wanted to get that day. Tricky Nikki wanted to get a bloomin onion and sautéed mushrooms. Our friend Tim wanted to get the phone number of a Hooters waitress. And me? I wanted a bikini top that actually fit.
And so the 3 road trippers began their journey in a purple Dodge Shadow on that summer day. We were headed to Indy because there was a specialty store there that sold ginormous bikini tops. And I was determined to find one. Tricky Nikki was determined to help me pick the best one. Tim was there in the hopes of getting a phone number from a waitress at Hooters (any waitress would have been fine with him) and he was our comic relief.
It was the first time I ever let a guy be involved in the arduous task of swim suit shopping, but we let it slide. We were determined to have a wonderful day. Bathing suits and all. Because we knew that this would be one of the last times Tim would be healthy enough to go on a trip like this. His health had been declining over the last couple of years, and we all knew it.
Tim had Cystic Fibrosis.
He was my first French kiss, my first accompanist, my first puppy love. He was a wonderfully high spirited guy with a passion for music (he played anything he could get his stubby little hands on- but excelled at piano and violin) and was always quick with a joke. He used to belly laugh until he started to cough so hard that it scared us all, then he’d look around and say, “I didn’t die. It wasn’t THAT funny.”
My kinda fella.
We spent a good 2 hours in that “Especially for girls with big coconuts” swim suit store, and Tim suggested I try on every top in the place. He thought it was pretty funny, me coming out with stuff hanging out in not so flattering places, and Nik would say “NO WAY” and Tim would say “Well, wait a second. Let me have a second look. It might work…” Cause that’s the kind of guy he was. He was 100% alive, making the most of every opportunity. He lived life to the fullest until he passed this life in 1999.
I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without him. Or Nik’s. We were smitten with him. (although me more than her.)
I remember that last summer he was with us, we went out every single night for a month. We were so exhausted, but none of us cared. We were having a great summer spending time with our friends. And I’m so glad we did. I even forgave him for all the times that he made sing Sarah McLachlan's song “I will remember you” while he watched me bawl my eyes out as he played the piano for me. Or made me listen to that stupid Aerosmith song from Armageddon. Ug. He loved to make me cry. He found that particularly amusing.
One night, when Nik was doing something else, Tim and I went out by ourselves. He took me to the covered bridge restaurant just over the border in Indiana, and we held hands as we looked at the river below. It was sweet and innocent. We talked about everything- living, dying, love… and with the conversation about love he told me he didn’t want to die alone.
That was when I told him “So why don’t we get married? I’ll stay with you to the very end, Tim. I’ll stay right by your side. You won’t have to be alone.”
He got tears in his eyes and said “Charlyn, you want kids. And I can’t have any cause of this stupid CF. And I’m not going to do that to you. Me dying is bad enough. You need to go find happiness, and have all the babies you want. I know you love me, but this is not how it’s supposed to be. I’m going to love you back by saying NO.”
And I got it. I understood. This wasn’t a journey anyone else could take for him. He had to do it alone. And we walked on, looking at the water and the moonlight on that covered bridge.
Pretty soon we decided we better leave. (Mostly because we were trespassing… ahem) As we were leaving the bridge, I grabbed a nickel out of my pocket and looked at a star and said aloud “I wish we could find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis before it’s too late.” And I tossed the nickel over the side of the bridge.
It landed on one of the bridge trusses below, and the moonlight shone on the nickel like starlight. It never came close to touching the water.
And Tim looked at me lovingly and said, “Good job, Charlyn. Now I’m really gonna F%**%$ die.” (Tim had quite the vocabulary)
You may be wondering how this story about Tim and me and Tricky Nikki involves dieting. Well, it’s got quite a lot. Nik’s sister, Tracy (aka: the Skinny Witch. Although when she says it she doesn’t use the word witch… hee hee- Tracy makes me laugh a lot!) is doing the Great Strides walk to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. And she asked if Nik and I wanted to do the walk with her. Because she knows I am trying to get back on the ball with the dieting thing. (178 today, so there is minor progress FINALLY) And I decided that I would be honored to walk in Tim’s memory. Cause I loved him a lot. I named my son after him. And Big Tim would have gotten a bang out of my Tim. They woulda been 2 peas in a pod, those boys.
So I signed up to walk. My goal is to raise a measly $150 dollars. Which is a drop in the bucket for what it’s gonna take to cure this disease. But I want to do what I can. If you want to help support my cause, there is a donation button on the top right of the blog. All donations are tax deductable, and I would greatly appreciate it. The walk is on April 17th in Urbana IL.
There’s how it correlates with dieting in one way. Now here’s the other.
I bought my first bikini since that trip to Indy 12 years ago. As Amy (our oldest daughter) and I were at walmart, we looked and found one that would probably work. FIT me, anyway. I didn’t care if it looked good or not. In fact, the worse it looks the better (And I am so in luck with that!) because the goal is humiliation. I seem to respond to making a fool out of myself on the world wide web (thank ya, Al Gore) and once I put something out there that makes me look really bad, I change. I make it better. So it was bikini time.
But as we were looking at the different bikini styles last night, it really made me miss Tim. Cause he took the pain out of swimsuit shopping. He made it fun. So I couldn’t help but smile as I posed for the trainwreck pictures you are about to see below. Life is all about living- for better or for worse, and laughing through it all. I learned that from Tim, who managed to live his short life with absolute gusto.
So without further adieu, the moment you have all been waiting for. Charlie making the next very public step in her journey. Nothing to hold in my middle. My flabby flappy tummy. My goal is to be presentable in a bikini by the time summer rolls around. Or at least by August 8th, my birthday. One day we are going to look back at these pictures and go “Wow! Look at the changes!” But for today, we are all going to look in horror, and pray that our eyes don’t bleed. No makeup, no girdle, no fancy hairdo to take the edge off. Just a hair don't and an attitude of complete humility.
If these don’t spur me on to change, I doubt anything will!!!
Painful, huh? But it's still LOADS better than where I started from! Remember?
But, oh, yeah, this still smarts like you wouldn't believe.
Moving on to the ever painful side shot. Tummy and butt in full view.
Yes, it's better than where I was last February, but still... I gotta get back on it.
So there it is. My next step in admitting I have a problem and being willing and ready to change it. I need to work on toning and getting rid of all the jigglies. Cause now there's loose skin. And I am not about to get surgery to remove it. So that means I need to work. And work hard.
And we all know how much I like hard work...
I guess I better go workout, huh?