Salted Tangerines and Stale Bread

Salted Tangerines and Stale Bread

“I don’t know doc, it’s that it got so difficult after the birth of our son. She sits on the couch all day eating and ignores everything else. She tells me she is depressed because of all her weight gain but she refuses to get off the couch. I mean, it’s at the point that she doesn’t take Solstice out of his crib anymore.” Jomal sighed in resignation.

“I understand but maybe she needs more time? Have you tried getting her out with you when you aren’t at work?”

“Ya, I mean I’ve tried everything! She keeps saying I am embarrassed to be seen with her! Doc, I don’t know how much time she needs, it’s been over two years!” 

“I do understand what you are going through, Jomal. My wife took her own life four years ago after the birth of our third child. She had gained almost two hundred pounds and refused to leave the house for over a year.” The doctor blinked back tears.

“Oh man Doc, I am so sorry. Here I am whining in your office and all.”

“Do you love her Jomal? I mean do you truly love her or are you looking for a way out?”

“I don’t know to be honest. You know, I mean I did love her. Now I am thinking what life will look like as a single dad.” Jomal shook his head, “I don’t know her anymore. She gets up yelling at both me and Solstice for no reason. Some days I am numb all over. If it wasn’t for Solstice, I wouldn’t go home at all.”

“Okay, here’s what I can do. Since the death of my wife, I have developed a trial experiment for women who suffer from severe obesity. I have about six women in my study group right now and they have been quite successful. I can give you the material and instructions but Lateesha must follow the program without deviation. She won’t have to change her diet. Do you think she will do that?”

“Really? I mean, ya! I will make sure she doesn’t mess up. I can take a week or two off work if that helps! How does it work?”

“It’s super easy and may seem bizarre at first but believe me, it’s had great results. Let me get the package for you.” The doctor left the room, returning with a brown manila envelope. “So, the best part is there are no pills to take, no exercises, and no changes in eating habits.” Jomal looked at the doctor in disbelief. “I know, I know. It’s hard to believe but I assure you, it’s the easiest treatment for her and will only take time, which I think she has a lot of right now.”

“You got that right! So, show me the magic weight remedy. I can’t wait to get home and tell Lateesha!” Jomal’s eyes lit up with excitement as he listened to the doctor outline the program. It seemed so simple. All they had to do was peel and soak tangerine slices in salt overnight, with 1ml of the elixir. The next day, the tangerines are laid on the areas needing to lose fat and they are covered with pieces of stale bread. Jomal left the office, a little skeptical about the magic cure but he took the package with hope. Now all he needed was tangerines and stale bread.

******

Jomal strode into the house, beaming from ear to ear. He could hear Solstice crying in the back room. He cringed wondering how long Solstice has been in his crib today. He scooped his son up in his arms, laughing and tossing him in the air. Solstice’s diaper was full and he was wet from the chest down.

“It’s all good buddy! We have some changes coming for all of us! Soon you won’t have to be in your crib all day! Daddy’s gunna make everything better,” Jomal crooned. 

“Lateesha! I’m home and I got some great news!” 

“Well, whoopdie doo! What gives you the right to come in her all up in my face talking about your good news? I bet you were telling your boys how much you wishin’ I were dead cuz I am so fat.” Lateesha didn’t look away from the Dr. Oz show playing on the television.

“No baby. It’s not like that at all! I went to see my doctor and he gave me some stuff that I think can help us. It’s super easy and you don’t have to do a thing to change your diet. Let me show….”

“What the hell you talkin’ about boy? See what I mean? You go on behind my back and talking smack about me to your doctor?”

“No, that’s not it! I am trying to help you! Damn girl, listen and hear me out for once! Our son deserves a better life than rotting in his crib all day!” Lateesha looked up at him with tears in her eyes. She knew he was right, he could see it. “Look baby, I know you’re hurting so please, let me help. It’s not gunna do any harm to try. Right?”

“Fine! Let’s see what the good doc is peddling today,” she conceded.

****************

Jomal held Solstice in silence, staring at Lateesha. She looked so peaceful right at that moment. The most peaceful she has been in the past two years. Jomal gave Solstice a hug and whispered, “It’s going to okay lil’ man, you’ll see. We are going to make this work.” Jomal reached for the phone and dialed 911, then he called his doctor back.

“Hey doc. Ya, I called them. I don’t get what happened. We did everything right, and she has lost over one hundred pounds in such a short time. I mean, your program works. What went wrong?” As Jomal listened, the color drained from his face. 

“Ya, I hear you. I have one question though before the cops get here. Why? Why did you do this? I have a son. We needed her!” He glanced over to the couch with Lateesha’s body laying there, getting colder by the second. “I’m still here,” he replied. Jomal listened to his doctor surmise what happened with the rapid weight loss. 

“So what you are saying is the elixir you gave her is what caused the weight loss and ultimately her death? I mean I understood there were risks but I honestly thought the weight loss was from the salted tangerines and stale bread, not the elixir. By what you said, those things were placebos and the elixir was poisoned to set me free?”

“Yes, Jomal. You wanted out.”

“I’m sorry doc, I don’t remember ever telling you that I wanted to kill the mother of my child! The police have pulled up, so you better get that go-bag and be on the next plane outta the country, cuz they’re coming for you!” Tears streaming down his face, Jomal opened the door and handed the elixir bottle to the officer. 

“It’s my doctor. He did this to her. He poisoned her with that stuff, saying it was a weight loss serum. You must make him pay!”

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