The night had sprayed the apartment with a fire extinguisher. Maggie got the day off, so Peter called in sick. They made soup and spent the afternoon under blankets in front of the television. They never got to spend an entire day together anymore.
“With so many talk shows over the years, why doesn’t everyone know somebody who has been on one?” said Peter. “My aunt sat in the Maury audience once, but that doesn’t count.”
Silence fell, wet and sticky.
“I’ve been on a talk show,” Maggie said. Peter turned toward her. She sank into the couch.
“Five years and you never told me?”
“And when did this supposed talk show appearance happen?”
“I was in middle school.”
“What kind of show? Out-of-Control Teens?”
“No, not that.”
“Oh God, not Who’s the Father?”
“Nooooo,” she said. She slugged him in the arm.
“What other topics are there?”
Maggie stood and drifted around the coffee table. Peter watched her pile up. “Fat Kids. I was on a fat kid episode.”
Peter chortled. “Nice try.”
“Babe, I’m serious. Have you seen a picture of me before I was sixteen?”
“I mean… baby pictures.”
“Only your senior portraits.” Peter grabbed the bowls and spoons, brought them to the kitchen. “I still don’t believe you.”
“At 13, I weighed 300 pounds. My family put me on TV looking like that. Kids skipped school to see Saggy Maggie’s episode.”
She sat down; Peter joined her. He’d seen that face before. It was the time she told the “you’re paying for the abortion” joke through a mist of tears.
He put his arm around her.
“Okay, okay,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“It was humiliating.”
“But you’re so skinny.”
“They gave me a personal trainer for a year. Then I had a growth spurt, and it was like I’d never been fat. But I was.”
Peter kissed her cheek. “Well, I would’ve loved you, anyway.”
“No, you wouldn’t. You would’ve ignored me. We never would’ve met.” Maggie stared into the kitchen. A snowplow rumbled by outside.