Jane folded the white linen napkin twice over and placed it on the table next to her empty plate.
She looked around the restaurant, hoping no one would notice as she opened her purse and heaved into it. Everything came up quickly and she snapped the bag shut folding the leather strap across it. She'd toss it away in the ladies room on her way out like she had all the other ones.
The waiter watched nervously from the kitchen, wondering if he should take her a damp cloth or another soda or.... something. But he did nothing, just watched as her husband John, a tall dark haired man returned from the lobby, his cell phone plastered to his ear as he barked orders into it.
Jane took a sip of water, then retrieved her napkin and daintily wiped the corners of her mouth.
John Murray signaled to the waiter to bring dessert menus. Jane shook her head 'no' as the waiter approached. John looked over the assortment of sweets as Jane kept her eyes averted. Then he ordered two coffees with whipped cream and two tiramisus with ice cream on the side. Jane took on a rather greenish tint as the waiter looked at her sympathetically. He touched her on the shoulder as he reclaimed her dessert menu; she winced and swallowed hard. She was a thin, frail shell of a woman. John couldn't fathom how such a tiny frame could eat so much. He marveled at how svelte she'd stayed after all these years. It was impressive.
John remained on the phone throughout the remainder of the meal. Sipping on his coffee he never bothered touching his own dessert, as he motioned for Jane to continue with hers. She somehow managed to choke it all down, but almost lost it as John pushed his untouched plate towards her.
She hastily excused herself to the restroom to get rid of her purse and the tiramisu that was already on it's way back up. She was proud of herself for not crying as she knelt in front of the toilet; her stomach in knots as the last of the pricey meal was expelled.
A cool paper towel, more powder and lipstick and she looked almost normal. Paler than usual, but John would never notice. She smiled at herself. She had indeed gotten thinner. Not thin enough for John apparently, but she would get there. Even if it killed her.
In the cab on the way home Jane burst into tears. She put on a good show as she explained to John that she'd left her purse in the ladies room. He just couldn't believe how she could be so careless.
This seemed to happen every time they went out. She began to hyperventilate and he stopped cursing.
He took out his wallet and handed her his credit card and several hundred dollars. "Here, go shopping tomorrow and buy you another one, or three or four. Can't have you lugging around a paper sack. I have an image to uphold." He paused as he looked her over, "and buy a dress that fits you for crying out loud. You've lost some more weight haven't you? Looks good Janie, keep it up."
His cell rang and he answered it, picking right up from where he'd left off in the restaurant.
Jane stared out the window. She'd lose even more weight now. She had finally gotten his attention.
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