Josie was born big. She was larger than most babies in weight and height, deemed strong and healthy. She hovered slightly taller than her classmates until the age of sixteen, when she shot up to six and a half feet. Eventually, she reached a colossal height of almost seven feet. She garnered attention wherever she went, her height making her thoroughly self-conscious. Her parents were of average height, putting her long length down to pure luck.
She moved through her small town as quietly as she could but her footsteps were larger and louder than most. Josie was continually asked whether she played basketball among other questions she grew tired of hearing. Her height proved difficult to juggle with her gentle personality; she was a humble and silent type of girl, caught in attempts to divert attention from her whenever she was introduced at parties or meeting someone new. When it came time to find a partner, she worried she would never find a man accepting of her large features.
Josie eventually reached her mid-twenties and decided to move a bigger city, to explore her options and to release herself from the claustrophobic environment of her small town. She arrived at the capital train station with her luggage and belongings, ready to start her new job in a small firm. Her excitement was evident, especially at the prospect of her escape from the clutches of gossip and speculation.
Within a couple months of working at her new office, Josie was faced with similar problems as back home. She noticed some of her colleagues gossiping, convinced she was being discussed due to her height. She was reminded of her times in school when she was called a freak by some of the boys. The words had lingered with her for a long time. At the end of one of her first work weeks, she was one of the few employees left in the building. She decided to wrap up her belongings and head to her apartment to spend the weekend. She had plans, mostly of watching television shows and resting on her couch that was much too small to hold her large frame.
“You must be quite new” A man appeared beside Josie. He rested his hands on his chin as he leaned on the partition of her cubicle.
“I just started about a month ago” She introduced herself to the man, who was looking at her directly.
They began talking about their backgrounds and after a quarter of an hour, the two exchanged numbers and decided to meet the following weekend.
They connected at the city center, walking around town, eating ice cream and making their way to the waterside bars to enjoy a night out. Eventually, the two joined hands and blossomed into a young couple, spending weekends closely together and staying far apart at the office. Word got around the office of her relationship, her colleagues maintaining their silence and offering no more than a smile.
Josie’s boyfriend was almost a foot and a half smaller than her, around five feet and six inches. She was attracted to his calm nature, his romantic words and his gentle touch, making her feel truly wanted for the first time in her young life. He offered everything she was looking for. After six months of dating and seeing each other regularly, Josie began thinking about her height again and wondered why he had never made a mention of it, not even a passing joke. One evening, after a few drinks, she eased him into conversation before posing the question.
“Do my legs look too long in this dress?” She stood up, doing a twirl sipping her glass of wine and flicking her hair.
“No, not at all. I like your long legs” He offered a large smile. She decided to cut to the chase.
“I’m almost seven feet tall. You are not close to six feet. Don’t you feel like people stare at us? Doesn’t’ it bother you” She asked, putting the room at standstill.
“I don’t think it’s so serious. You’re a big deal to me” He laughed, placing the wine glass on the table and leaning back.
“I like you the way you are… a lot. Don’t you?” He asked seriously. “I can deal with it. I don’t think it’s bad, I think people are just curious when they stare” He clarified, trying to calm her.
“I cannot believe it doesn’t bother you. Maybe I’m just insecure about it” She trailed off at the end of her words, unsure about her interrogation after voicing them to a man she was quickly falling in love with.
He deliberated for a minute.
“Do you want to go out somewhere? Let’s dance a little first” She said excitedly, glad he was accepting of their difference in height but not pressing the issue. She put on some music, gracious in her movements across the living room.
“You want to meet my parents soon?” He asked bluntly “I think you might like them.”
She was excited by the thought of being introduced to his family, agreeing quickly.
“I should tell you something about them. They’re quite small” He looked her in the eyes as he had the first time they had met in the office months ago.
“Well a lot of people are, compared to me. You are, too”
“I mean they are really small. They are maybe half my height. My parents used to call me the giant when I was in high school” He laughed at the memories.
She jumped over the coffee table to cuddle up next to him.
About the Author: Shashank Mane is a writer currently living in Finland. His work has appeared in Every Writer, Indiana Voice, Vignette Review, Diverse Voices, and The Creative Truth.